Construction has begun locally in Newdegate, on the first of three Doppler radars to boost weather intelligence for farm businesses and regional communities across the Wagin electorate.
A $23 million Royalties for Regions investment will fund the construction of the three radars, which will be located throughout regional WA.
Member for Wagin Terry Waldron MLA said once operational, the local Newdegate radar would provide real-time weather coverage information at a range of up to 200km.
“Local farmers and agricultural businesses will be able to access timely information on rainfall and wind speed and direction, which are all critical markers in terms of making more informed decisions, for example during seeding including fertiliser and chemical applications,” Mr Waldron said.
Mr Waldron said research behind this project had estimated that, based on more timely spray applications alone, radars could produce a return of over $6 for every $1 invested.
“Over the thousands of hectares farmed across the regions, these savings would definitely become quite considerable,” he said.
Katanning local and Nationals WA candidate for Roe Peter Rundle said the improved weather information would also be of great benefit to emergency services and local communities in general.
“As a farmer, I understand the benefits of this real-time weather data, but am also aware of the enormous advantage this type of technology could provide for emergency services personnel, such as fighting fires and even for more general uses, such as planning a community event,” Mr Rundle said.
Mr Rundle said Doppler radars would also be installed at South Doodlakine and in Watheroo, near Marchagee, with all three expected to be operational by mid-2017.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the program was a $23 million commitment by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program to transform WA farm businesses.
“These radars will make a real difference to farming businesses while providing relevant information for emergency services providers by offering weather observations at a local level,” Mr Redman said.
“The Doppler radars will fill gaps in radar coverage and also provide underlying data to assist insurance providers to develop new insurance products.”
Esperance-based Sime Building & Construction will undertake site works construction and the Bureau of Meteorology will install and maintain the Doppler radars. Once the radars have been installed and commissioned, the Bureau will undertake data quality evaluation.
Mr Rundle said it was great to see local and regional businesses having the opportunity to participate in the project.
“This project will not only benefit the people of Newdegate, but will have flow on benefits across the electorate, giving Esperance’s Sime Building & Construction the opportunity to employ local workers and contribute to a significant infrastructure project for the region.”
The Newdegate radar is expected to be operational by October 2016.
The new radars will build on the Department of Agriculture and Food’s extended network of 149 automated weather stations, and the new radars are fully funded by Royalties for Regions (RfR).
For more information on RfR visit http://biggerpicture.regions.wa.gov.au/
For media enquiries please contact Terry Waldron on 9881 1225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Peter Rundle – M: 0418 959 810 E: email@example.com