Next seven months will be crucial for irrigators, farmers

THE next seven months will be crucial for irrigators in securing future water supply for the Lockyer Valley.

They will need to work with Brisbane-based infrastructure consultant Jacobs to determine just how much extra water is required and at what price they are willing to pay.

It forms the next stage of the Lockyer Valley and Somerset Water Security Scheme detailed business case to prove growers need another water supply to continue feeding Australia.

The project was awarded a $1.4 million grant from the state government's department of development this week.

Water Collaborative chairperson Stephen Robertson said the detailed business case would take seven months to complete.

"The consultants will engage with water users, including farmers and irrigators, to determine how much water they would like," Mr Robertson said.

"When that's done, we will know whether that project is viable."

The initial strategic business case estimated an additional 50,000ML a year would be required to boost the Lockyer Valley's water supply.

Not only would it aid drought times, but increase productivity during good seasons.

He said two potential water options were under investigation, one which relied on the recommissioning of the western corridor pipeline.

The demand for water, not just for irrigation, has dramatically increased in the past eight years, with population numbers rising.

Following the millennium drought, Mr Robinson said the recycled water scheme was built.

"Since the 2011 floods that broke the drought, another one million people now call southeast Queensland home," he said.

"The amount of demand on our water supply grows because of this."

Members of the collaborative yesterday toured Seqwater's Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme to see how it worked and investigate possible usages.

Member for Lockyer Jim McDonald backed the new water project and said it was a "critical piece of work" that was required to unlock state and federal funding.

He said the Liberal Government was eager to see the results.

"We have to look to the future and see what opportunities this will unlock for our current but also future generations," Mr McDonald said.

He said without state and federal funding, it would become a privately-funded project.

"I don't want to wait until the next election when we are hopefully in government, I want the current Labor Government to fund it and to do something for our region," Mr McDonald said.

Meetings will be held throughout January for irrigators to discuss water supply and prices.

They can register their interest at the collaborative website.

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