About us

The Ord Irrigation Cooperative (OIC) was formed in 1996 to operate and manage the business of providing water and drainage services to the farms within Stage I of the Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA) as part of the transfer of the irrigation assets and business from the State to the growers.

The ORIA project first began back in 1941 with an experimental farm in the region. In 1958 the Kimberley Research Station was established on Ivanhoe Plain, as a joint Commonwealth venture. By 1958 the WA Government was convinced of the viability of an irrigation scheme and the initial development was completed in 1963.

By 1966, 31 farms irrigated from the Diversion Dam had been allocated. Construction of the Ord River Dam, only 99 metres high and only 341 metres long the dam is by no means impressive on a global scale, however its construction resulted in Australia’s second largest inland reservoir called Lake Argyle. Its operating storage capacity is 11, 000, 000 megalitres or 204, 719, 140, 000 cubic feet (5, 797, 000, 000 cubic metres) it is said to comparable to 21 times the size of Sydney Harbour.

Of the reliable storage of 11, 000 gigalitres in Lake Argyle, 335 gigalitres are allocated to Stage 1 of the Ord River Irrigation Area.

Water is released from Lake Argyle through the Oral hydro power supply and through controlled releases through the Water Corporations regulating valves at the base of the dam. An additional flow is also released through the Spillway Plug into Spillway Creek to provide dry season flow.

These combined releases comprise the inflow into lake Kununurra which, through the operation of the Kununurra Diversion Dam (built 1962), provides the head required to supply the gravity channel network of the Ivanhoe Plains system and the Packsaddle pumping station.

The Ord Stage 1 area is 15, 150 hectares of agricultural land, which currently has over 300 kilometres of irrigation channels and drains, over 120 regulators, 1200 service meters, and 61 individual customers. Water is gravity fed to farms via a series of earth lined open supply channels, using a range of flow regulator structures.

The Ord Expansion Project is currently investing over $300 million on developing additional agricultural land and supporting infrastructure, including supply channels, drains, and roads. The development will be the most significant addition of agricultural land in Kununurra in over 35 years. The ORIA sees the expansion as a long needed addition to the existing irrigated land, to improve economies of scale within the Region.