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Ord River Irrigation Area Stage 2 (M2 supply channel)

April 22, 2022

The development of the M2 Channel Supply Area involves the provision of the necessary infrastructure to allow for irrigation of approximately 50,000 hectares of black soil plains, comprising of the Weaber, Keep River and Knox Creek Plains. These plains are suitable for broad acre cropping such as sugar cane, cotton or leuceana. The area covered straddles the NT/WA border and will be serviced via a proposed supply channel known as the M2.

The necessary infrastructure includes:

  • the main M2 supply channel
  • additional supply channels
  • on route storage
  • hillside drainage
  • farm drainage
  • tail water storage
  • pumping stations
  • main drains
  • flood levees
  • access roads
  • associated infrastructure

The development also involves the preparation of the land for irrigation which includes:

  • clearing
  • levelling
  • survey
  • soil preparation on farm channels and banks
  • fencing
  • buildings, roads etc.

The design of the main channels has been based on providing the water requirements of 3.89 megalitres per hectare per month after allowing for an efficiency factor of 80% in the main channels and in the field. Stormwater drains have been designed on a 5-year, 48-hour storm to ensure that on farm ponding is limited to forty-eight hours and 0.5m depth.

Tailwater drain capacities have been based on 33% of applied irrigation water. The capacity will be adequate to ensure that irrigation tailwater is able to be maintained on the farming area and returned to the supply system. In addition to this, it could allow the initial portion of runoff from storms to be harvested. Hillside drains are provided to prevent waters from hillsides entering the irrigated areas and causing localised flooding. Levee banks are proposed to protect farming areas from river flood waters.

The Ord River Irrigation Area Stage 2 is being developed by Kimberley Agriculture Investment (KAI). After several years of negotiations, KAI officially signed off on lease arrangements with the WA Government in 2017.

Stage 3 is underway with assessments for expansion of Ord River Irrigation in Western Australia’s Kimberley region of 6000 hectares of red loamy soils at the Cockatoo Sands near Kununurra. These soils are well-drained and could support agriculture throughout the wet season. In late 2021 the AAM Investment Group (AAMIG) was announced as the preferred proponent to develop the 67,500-hectare parcel of land.

See Compliance assessment report

Visit the NTEPA website for Environmental Impact Statement, Biodiversity Assessment report and the Environmental Management Assessment report.

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