Members of the committee of the Gingin Water Group represented the Gingin community last month in a tour of the region’s main water problem areas.
Experts from the Departments of Water, Environment and Conservation and Food and Agriculture joined private hydrologists to help advise committee members on possible strategies to help the community understand and respond to local issues that are arising out of an increased population, changed land use and a drying climate.
Twelve committee members were joined by ten experts and Marty Aldridge our local MLC to pack out the community bus.
Introductions made and relationships are formed at the start of the tour . The route traveled was south over Lennard Brook to Brand Highway then north into Coonabidgee Road across to Gingin Brook Road , south into Military Road around to Chitna Road and back to Gingin Brook Road. It backtracked to Cowalla road then north to Beermullah west road and back to Brand highway via Bootine road.
Local water borer George Grant guided the tour giving a commentary based on his many years of drilling into the superficial aquifers across the region.
He moulded his observations and interpretations into an explanation of the water supply issues as the LOCAL landholders were experiencing them. This information often differed to the assumptions of the officials from the Department of Water. The hydrologists present were able to explain how the localised observations could fit into their understanding of the underground soil arrangement and the water holding capacities of the various mix.
The loop bounded by Coonabidgee and Gingin Brook Roads and Brand Hwy proved particularly interesting. Much of that area is drying and some of it seriously. As this was once a mass of swamps providing moisture all summer to support unique wetland habitats and pasture for grazing , predictions of a permanently dryer habitat must be a justified local concern.
Wetland experts on tour said farmers need to seek help to identify locally unique vegetation and use GWG to access grants and expertise available to help them describe and preserve habitat. This will add value to their properties and make the inevitable change more acceptable. They pointed out that many important ecosystems existed on the dryer sandy patches and were just as unique and valuable as swamps and paperbarks.
Don Telfer from the Department of Food and Agriculture encouraged graziers in the region to contact him directly or through the GWG for assistance in developing strategies which will allow them to continue farming in the changed set of conditions he was observing. Gingin Brook and its tributary system was observed as being large and complex .
The bus passed it in the east and west as well as the Mungala and Wallering tributaries in the north. It was acknowledged as fundamental to local residents. The experts explained that permanent habitat change was all but guaranteed as drying and over grazing continued. GWG will work with authorities and the community to access grant money to assist landholders to identify, preserve and restore habitat in an effort to add value to their properties. GWG will continue to inform the community through future NV News articles.