The Ord River Irrigation Scheme (ORIS) was constructed on the Ord river in 1963, creating the expansive Lake Argle, Australia’s largest man made lake, and Lake Kununurra in the process.
As an initiative of the state government of Western Australia, this scheme is set to be extended under the Ord River Irrigation Expansion Project, increasing the agricultural area from 14,000ha to an approximate 22,000ha. It is also set to feature 19km of irrigation channel, 14km road extension and irrigation control structures.
Lake Argyle actually supplies water to the Ord River Irrigation Area and contains 10,763 gigalitres when at full supply level. It is the state government’s intention to realise the full potential of available resources in the East Kimberley, providing major opportunities for growth and sustainability for the region’s economic and social development.
The project is already attracting large amounts of interest and it is hoped that the land release will help to draw private sector investment into the growing region. The region is already home to a healthy agricultural industry that includes the growing of numerous crops such as cotton, rice, chia, sorghum, pumpkins, melons, mangoes, sugar cane and sandlewood.
Expressions of interest for the Knox Plain and Ord West Bank land and Requests for Proposal for the Goomig Farm Area set to close in February 2012.