The Mid West region of WA covers nearly one fifth of the state or 468,712 square kilometres and yet has a population of less than 60,000 people. More than 70 per cent of the population lives in the City of Greater Geraldton.
The Mid West covers 17 local government areas from Greenhead to Kalbarri and inland to Wiluna in the Gibson Desert.
Mining, agriculture, fishing and tourism are the region’s major economic drivers. Manufacturing is also a big contributor to the region’s economy.
The main agricultural industries are cereal and legume crops including wheat, lupins and canola; livestock, mainly cattle, sheep, pigs and goats; horticulture and aquaculture.
The region’s fishing industry boasts the biggest rock lobster catch in the state at around 5,000 tonnes a year.
Low and inconsistent rainfall and a lack of divertible surface water resources means that the Mid West is dependent on groundwater resources.
Groundwater is managed across the region in three groundwater management areas known as the Arrowsmith, East Murchison and Gascoyne GWA’s.
The best water is found in the Arrowsmith GWA. This area is part of the Northern Perth Basin and is dominated by the Leederville-Parmelia and Yarragadee aquifers. It runs from Geraldton in the north to Eneabba in the south and Mingenew and Coorow in the east. It is used for public water, agriculture, horticulture and mining.
The East Murchison and Gascoyne GWAs tend to have groundwater that is variable in quality and quantity and is drawn from fractured rock aquifers. The water from these areas is used for stock watering, mining and town water supplies.
Demand for water, particularly from mining, is growing across the region.