NQ farmers water usage survey

Burdekin Falls Dam wall raising projects seeks farmer input

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North Queensland farmers are being asked about the water needed to grow their crops as part of a business case for raising the Burdekin Falls Dam wall.

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Burdekin Falls Dam is again the topic of political debate. Photo: Sunwater.

Burdekin Falls Dam is again the topic of political debate. Photo: Sunwater.

NORTH Queensland farmers are being asked about the water needed to grow their crops as part of a business case for raising the Burdekin Falls Dam wall.

The online survey is asking farmers who rely on water from Queensland's largest dam about both their current operations, and future potential crops that would require access to more water.

It also tests how demand might change under different pricing models.

Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the survey was critical to determining how much water was required to meet future demand - essential information for the wall-raising.

"Water supply security can translate to more farm businesses, higher intensity farming and increased production - which in turn fosters more jobs," Dr Lynham said.

Townsville MP Scott Stewart encouraged farmers to complete the survey.

"I encourage current and potential water users to contribute, particularly anyone who is looking at potentially expanding or changing operations," Mr Stewart said.

"(This) input will help establish how much water is needed, and that's critical for decisions about the dam wall, and our region's economic future.

"The Burdekin Falls Dam raising is the next big cab off the rank for water infrastructure in the North, and it's critical that NQ provides full and accurate data for the business case."

The state government committed $16 million to undertake the business case last September.

The proposal is to raise the spillway crest of the dam to increase capacity.

The detailed business case will include analysis of the environmental, economic, financial, and sustainability factors and an environmental impact statement.

It will also investigate the most viable height by which to raise the dam.

Sunwater, the government-owned corporation that owns and operates the dam and Building Queensland, is conducting the survey as part of their business case.

The LNP committed to raising the Burdekin Falls Dam wall in June 2018.

Burdekin MP and LNP natural resources spokesman Dale Last said farmers deserved to have face to face discussions about their livelihoods, rather than be asked to fill out a survey.

"What a slap in the face for farmers in the Burdekin with Labor expecting them to complete a survey rather than fronting up and hearing from them directly," Mr Last said.

"Suddenly this Labor government want farmers to think their opinion is valued when farmers know that it was the same government who ignored their calls when it came to the reef regulations.

"Just like we saw when the reef regulations were announced, a Labor member makes a cameo appearance and pretends to be their friend while the reality is this government has demonised farmers for green preferences in the south east corner."

Mr Last said many studies had already been done on the Burdekin Falls Dam wall raising and answers should already be known.

The state government's latest water announcement comes after it last week committed $30 million to construct Big Rocks Weir, on the Burdekin River north of Charters Towers, matching the $30 million the federal government had already pledged.

The project is now set to go ahead regardless of who wins the state election as the LNP had already committed to Big Rocks.

The 30-minute online survey will be open until October 30.

Paper copies will also be available at Burdekin Shire Council, Lower Burdekin Water, Kalamia Cane Growers, Burdekin Canegrowers, Pioneer Canegrowers, Invicta Canegrowers, Burdekin Delta Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, and BRIA Irrigators.

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