A study into the feasibility of using water from the Upper Herbert River for irrigated cropping and flood mitigation in two north Queensland local government regions will get underway soon.
The Southern Tablelands Development Scheme will use a $750,000 grant from the National Water Infrastructure Fund to determine whether irrigated agriculture in the western parts of the Tablelands Regional Council (TRC) around Mt Garnet and Innot Hot Springs, and flood mitigation at Ingham, can be achieved.
The ambitious plan is being driven by TRC, which secured the funding from the Federal Government program.
It is working closely with Hinchinbrook Shire Council and Herbert River Improvement Trust to develop the project.
Representatives of each three organisations came together earlier this month to discuss the way forward.
They agreed to disband the original committee, chaired by former TRC Mayor Rosa Lee Long, and are working on the formation of a new committee.
TRC Mayor Joe Paronella said unanimous support was provided for investigating new dams, weirs, pipelines and channels to support significant new irrigated agricultural development in the Upper Herbert River, taking into consideration flood mitigation and power generation possibilities.
Cr Paronella is excited about future opportunities and keen to with partner organisations to engage widely and seek specialist input to progress the initiative.
“I would like to thank our outgoing independent chair Rosa Lee Long and Southern Atherton Tablelands Irrigation Development Flood Mitigation Scheme committee members Geoff Stocker and Rodger Bow for their hard work and dedication in advocating for development of the southern Tablelands region,” Cr Paronella said.
“With two new local government entities, moving forward we will develop strong partnerships with our financial contributors and ensure that we draw on a variety of skill sets, expertise and advocacy channels to investigate economic development opportunities in the southern areas of our region.”
Cr Paronella said a new committee would be put together, and a strategic advisor appointed to progress the feasibility study.
“It’s hoped we can progress this as soon as possible,” Cr Paronella said.
He said community consultation would be undertaken as part of the feasibility study.
If the study proves successful, delivery of a project of this magnitude would require significant government investment, Cr Paronella said.