Waterhole management important for dry conditions
Soaks, springs and waterholes exist through many Eyre Peninsula farming areas and are important sources of water for stock and farm use – even more so during dry times like our current El Niño weather pattern.
Best practice management of these water sources is increasingly important during this time, says Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board Senior Water Resources Officer, Dave Cunningham.
“In dry times, surface water supplies such as dams, creeks and lakes, can become scarce with soaks, springs and waterholes becoming more relied upon by landholders for water – for stock and domestic use – as well as for wildlife,” says Mr Cunningham.
“Soaks, springs and waterholes can have fragile environments including the groundwater systems that support them, so it’s really important that they are cleaned out with care.
“We know that farmers and landowners will clean out or desilt these water sources from time-to-time with heavy machinery such as excavators but if this is not done with care, they can be damaged which can impact on the habitat and animals they support as well as the amount and quality of water supplied. Some damage can be irreversible.
“If you are looking to clean out or desilt a spring, soak or waterhole, it is recommended to contact the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board and speak to a landscape officer before any works are started to make sure you are doing it in a way that aligns with best practice and meets the required conditions, to help protect these water sources.”
While many other water source amendments require a Water Affecting Activity permit from the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board, cleaning out or desilting springs, soaks or waterholes do not. However, there are conditions regarding what is required for such works.
Conditions include no removal of native vegetation, excavated material not being deposited in a watercourse and only removing accumulated material – not making the opening of the spring larger. Activities other than desilting and cleaning out will require a Water Affecting Activity permit. See the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board’s fact sheet.
To contact your local landscape board office, find your nearest location.