WATER PROJECT: Lockyer Valley irrigators Tim Linan, Michael Sippel, Greg Bannf, Gordon Van der Est and Anthony Staatz say upcoming meetings are the biggest decision farmers have faced in a decade. Picture: Dominic Elsome
WATER PROJECT: Lockyer Valley irrigators Tim Linan, Michael Sippel, Greg Bannf, Gordon Van der Est and Anthony Staatz say upcoming meetings are the biggest decision farmers have faced in a decade. Picture: Dominic Elsome

Farmers need to be involved in ‘biggest decision in decades’

THE sign-on for expressions of interest to access Water from Wivenhoe begins on Friday.

Irrigators have been working on the project as part of the Water Collaborative for three years and have the full support of Lockyer and Somerset Regional Councils.

“It has been a quite a journey meeting all the project milestones with the backing and support of the Queensland Government,” Lockyer Growers’ Michael Sippel said.

“Now it is up to the irrigators to step up and be counted, the detailed business case is under way starting with the market demand study.”

Consultants Jacobs Australia will be conducting presentations across the Lockyer Valley and will be looking for expressions of interest from interested parties.

The opportunity is not just for irrigators – landholders with dry blocks and businesses engaged in animal protein production constrained by lack of water should also attend.

Jacobs will be outlining pipeline options under consideration, water volumes, target pricing and supply reliability.

With 50,000ML of water potentially on offer for the Lockyer Valley, this pipeline has the capability to deliver sustainable water supply.

Anthony Staatz, from Koala Farms, believes it could give peace of mind to his business, especially when they were trying to produce vegetables in drought conditions.

Gordon Van der Est from the Lockyer Waters Users Forum said the Water from Wivenhoe project was an economic game-changer for the Lockyer region, creating new jobs and bringing secondary value-add processing of agricultural products.

“Also significant export opportunities will now be possible because long-term supply contract risk is mitigated,” Mr Van der Est said.

“If we don’t get the demand necessary to get the project up this time, there will never be another opportunity, it just won’t be possible due to future competition for water from urban and industrial demand.”

Information sessions:

  • Wednesday, January 29, 3,30pm, Atkinson Dam SEQW Shed
  • Wednesday, January 29, 6.30pm, Mulgowie Hall
  • Thursday, January 30, 3.30pm, Ma Ma Creek Community Hall
  • Thursday, January 30, 6.30pm, Glenore Grove Hall
  • Monday, February 3, 3.30pm, Helidon RSL
  • Monday, February 3, 6.30pm, Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre, Gatton.

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