Land use in the catchment can be divided into three broad areas based on physiology.  Both irrigated and non-irrigated intensive agriculture, in particular beef production, dominate the coastal plain.  Almost the entire coastal area has been cleared for agricultural, mining or urban land use.  Conserved areas and cropping dominate the catchment, particularly on the Darling Plateau.  

Land use on the coastal plain is dominated by Cattle for beef occupying 46% of the EPP (2000) catchment.  Dairying, which occurs mainly  in  the Harvey  catchment  makes up 9%, while Semi-rural/Urban  areas and Horse plots, which are mainly located in the Serpentine catchment, take up a further 5.4% and 4.1% of the area respectively.  An additional 10% of the EPP (2000) area is set aside for conservation or is undeveloped.

Major Landuse Types in the Peel-Harvey Catchment
(Bussemaker, 2004)

Landuse Area (km2) Percentage

Conservation and Natural Environments

5043

42.2%

Cropping

4488

37.6%

Cattle For Beef

1105

9.3%

Horticulture

357

3.0%

Cattle for Dairy

256

2.1%

Urban

242

2.0%

Other Livestock

153

1.3%

Semi-rural/Urban

111

0.9%

Mining

107

0.9%

Other

81

0.7%

Major Land use Types on the Peel-Harvey EPP Coastal Plain Catchment (Laval et al, 2004)

 

Land Use Percentage Land Area (%)

Remnant Vegetation

25

Grazing

 

Cattle for Beef

42

Cattle for Dairy

8

Mixed Grazing

4

Feedlots

1

Mining

3

Horses

3

Cropping

<1

Horticulture

2

Plantation

1

Urban

3

Peri Urban

5

Piggery

<1

Other – poultry, processing

<1

Total Area (km2)

2556

Land use by area for the P-H Coastal Plain EPP Catchment
(Laval et al, 2004)

Land use by area for the P-H Coastal Plain EPP Catchment

The Darling Scarp can be divided into two separate land use regions:

The majority of the western portion is uncleared and protected as either national parks or drinking water catchments although some mining activities are carried out in this area.

The eastern portion is dominated by extensive agriculture in the form of cropping. Some conservation areas are found in the area 25 kilometres north-west of Narrogin. All of the eastern agricultural area drains to the Murray River while the upper Serpentine and Harvey Catchments contain large water supply catchments and are mostly forested.