Government officers met with North Burnett Regional Council and irrigators to discuss local water supply issues.
Government officers met with North Burnett Regional Council and irrigators to discuss local water supply issues. Alistair Brightman

Priority on Boondooma Dam

SENIOR state government officers were in Mundubbera last Friday working with the North Burnett Regional Council and irrigators on local water supply issues.

Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the water supply issues at Boondooma Dam needed a collaborative solution and that department staff would get the ball rolling.

"I understand the importance of Boondooma Dam to the North and South Burnett, and how concerned locals are about falling water supplies,” Dr Lynham said.

"My departmental staff will get a better handle from council on the town water situation and the individual water supply circumstances of growers so we can all develop a way forward together.

"It's a complex situation that needs a collaborative strategy to balance water supply, cost and energy security,” Dr Lynham said.

Member for Callide Colin Boyce has been highlighting the issue in parliament all year, using his budget speech reply to remind all of the urgent need to address the concerns of the council and the growers themselves.

"Callide is the economic engine room of Queensland. We are talking about a $100 million fruit industry in the Mundubbera area. It's important that the government understands that water security and infrastructure is vital for the agricultural economy of Callide to continue its heavy lifting for the state's revenue,” Mr Boyce said.

Mr Boyce highlighted that the short-term fix that should be explored was the Wivenhoe Dam to supply the needs of the Tarong Power Station, in turn leaving the available water from Boondooma Dam to be available to irrigators.

Mr Boyce acknowledged there was a cost to the proposal but believed that it could be negotiated by all parties.

The Mundubbera Irrigators group meeting last week with representatives from DNR and SunWater was reported to be a fruitful meeting with assurances from those present that they would be looking into the possibility of pumping water from Wivenhoe Dam to Tarong Power Station and releasing water from the Boondooma Dam for irrigation use.

Department representatives will also be reporting back to the group in coming weeks regarding what is involved in building the Cooranga Weir.

Mr Boyce also commented that it was a good start.

"Dr Lynham is finally starting to pay attention to the critically low water levels in the Boondooma Dam,” Mr Boyce said.

He hopes that the growers and the government can resolve the issue for a positive outcome.