Gordon Van der Est and Greg Banff discuss irrigation in the Lockyer.
Gordon Van der Est and Greg Banff discuss irrigation in the Lockyer. Ali Kuchel

Pipelining Wivenhoe Dam water for Lockyer irrigators

WASTED water released from Wivenhoe Dam could be used to help hundreds of irrigators in the Lockyer Valley without costing the Qld Government millions of dollars.

Lockyer Water Users Forum spokesperson Gordon Van der Est believes the excess water released from Wivenhoe could sustain Atkinsons Dam, Lake Clarendon, and Bill Gunn Dam for two years once filled, if a pipeline was put in place.

The plans and project progression were outlined in a meeting with the Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington on Monday in Coominya, where the LWUF discussed the importance and socio-economic impact that additional water would have on the local economies in the region.

"We want to get the viability behind the project completed as soon as possible so when we go to the state government for a water entitlement," Mr Van der Est said.

"We have identified the add-on benefits that an additional mega-litres of water will bring to the region, such as revenue growth to the local economies and how many jobs this represents."

Global Consultants Parsons Brinkerhoff have been engaged under collaboration with Somerset and Lockyer Regional Councils and the LWUF to identify the economic benefits that a Wivenhoe pipeline would create.

 

ON TARGET: Lockyer Water Users Forum with Lockyer LNP candidate Jim McDonald chat with Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington about pipelining water from Wivenhoe to local irrigation dams in the Lockyer and Somerset Regions.
ON TARGET: Lockyer Water Users Forum with Lockyer LNP candidate Jim McDonald chat with Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington about pipelining water from Wivenhoe to local irrigation dams in the Lockyer and Somerset Regions. Ali Kuchel

In partnership with Lockyer and Somerset Regional Councils, the LWUF proposed funding the pipelines from Wivenhoe to the three dams between the Councils and irrigators, so the State Government wouldn't be out of pocket.

Wivenhoe Dam was originally built as a flood mitigation dam to protect Brisbane from flooding and wasn't intended for the purpose of irrigation or supplying drinking water.

But irrigators could desperately use the excess water released from Wivenhoe to fill local irrigation infrastructure which are almost at the dead storage level.

Primary producer and Moreton Vale pipeline representative Tim Linnan said farmers wanted the water that the government was wasting through unnecessary releases.

"We've got a system here that's not being utilised properly, it's opportunity lost," Mr Linnan said.

He said farmers across the Lockyer Valley were all united in wanting to find new water sources.

"We understand that in a drought we don't expect to be taking Brisbane's water, this is about stopping waste," Mr Linnan said.

 

Gordon Van der Est and Greg Banff check out the new centre pivot irrigator at Golden Finch Lawns.
Gordon Van der Est and Greg Banff check out the new centre pivot irrigator at Golden Finch Lawns. Ali Kuchel

If the project is successful, it's estimated the hundreds of irrigators across the whole of the Lockyer Valley would benefit from piping water from Wivenhoe Dam.

Speaking with the LWUF, Mrs Frecklington congratulated the group for their progression in the project.

"Access to water is always going to be an issue," Mrs Frecklington said.

"There are so many industries that would obviously benefit from more water, but it's not as easy as clicking your fingers and saying 'we want more water', we've got to have a systematic approach."

Mrs Frecklington said there would be many positive outcomes if the plans were approved.

"Availability of more water would lead to increased production across agriculture for the region, whether that be within horticultural, white meat, turf or value add secondary processing," she said.

"There will always be a request for more and better access to more water all over Queensland and we need to be, as a government, doing something about access to water."


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