In 2010, the Western Australian Government contributed $322.5 million to build the essential infrastructure to enable the release of 13,400ha of land for irrigated agriculture as part of the Ord Irrigation Expansion Project. This comprised:
- extending the main irrigation channel by 40 kilometres
- building 41 kilometres of new roads
- excavating 86 kilometres of drainage channels
- building flood levees.
Contractors completed these infrastructure works late in 2013.
The aim of this project and the concurrent $195 million East Kimberley Development Package is to realise the full potential of available resources in the East Kimberley and contribute to the social amenity of the region.
The Western Australian Government began investing in Ord River infrastructure to release land for irrigated agriculture in the 1960s. Stage 1 of the project was the development 14,000ha of irrigated farmland. Crops planted include chickpeas, chia, red grapefruit, mangoes, melons, hybrid seeds and sandalwood.
Under Stage 2 of the project, Kimberley Agricultural Investment has committed to the development of 7,400ha of the Goomig (Weaber Plain) farm area with an option to develop a further 6,000ha of Knox Plain land.
The Ord River Irrigation Expansion Project is being managed by the Department of Regional Development as the Lead Agency in conjunction with a range of government departments and agencies, including our department.