EXCLUSIVE: Lockyer irrigators given final water allocations
LOCKYER Valley irrigators have been handed down their water allocations, after months of negotiations.
The allocations, which were heavily discussed between the Lockyer Water Users Forum and the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, aim to ensure growth in the "salad bowl" for years to come.
NRM Minister Anthony Lynham said more than 400 farmers and businesses in the Lockyer Valley were advised of their individual water allocations under the region's water plan on Friday.
"The allocations are the final piece of the plan, which gives the Lockyer Valley and its producers a framework to grow their businesses and support job-creating economic development," he said.
"Farmers now know how much water they are entitled to and they know that the system is fair."
He said the farmers also had the flexibility to buy and sell their water allocations as they need.
"This will be great for Queensland's "salad bowl" that produces a large variety of fruit and veg including lettuce, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, corn and beans," he said.
He thanked the Queensland Farmers Federation, Growcom and the Lockyer Water Users Forum for their contribution towards this solution.
The new tradable water allocations replace a collection of groundwater licences, surface water interim allocations and authorisations held by irrigators, Seqwater and the Lockyer Valley Regional Council.
"This amendment paves the way for future agricultural development and economic prosperity in the region, but I only wish it came with rain too," Dr Lynham said.
"While recent rain has done a lot to help ease the impact of drought across Queensland, Central Lockyer landholders are still doing it tough.
"When more water becomes available, the new system will ensure everyone gets a fair share of what is available."
The Moreton Water Plan regulates:
- water from Clarendon Dam and Bill Gunn Dam, whether it's piped via the Morton Vale pipeline or supplied directly to water users in Lockyer and Laidley creeks;
- how underground water is refilled by water from the Clarendon Dam and Bill Gunn Dam through a series of nine recharge weirs; and
- groundwater trading in six new trading zones and the related water sharing rules.
It also provides for Seqwater and the department to measure water use, groundwater levels and water levels in the recharge weirs and dams.