WATER DRY­ING UP

Boyne River farm­ers fear water is run­ning out :

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Tobi Lof­tus Tobi.Lof­tus@cnbtimes.com.au

MUN­DUB­BERA ir­ri­ga­tors who use water from the Boyne River are wor­ried their ac­cess to the water could soon dry up.

Boyne River Ir­ri­ga­tors Group spokesman Mark Pos­tle said pro­duc­ers learned from SunWater that water from the Boon­dooma dam, which sup­plies the Boyne, would be cut off in early March.

“In 2013 we had the big­gest floods in one hun­dred years,” Mr Pos­tle said.

“Most of us were of the opin­ion the dam would be right for a lot longer than four years,”he said.

“The cut-off point in the dam was put in place in 1993, when it reaches 35% or 70,000mgs.

“That was put in place to pro­tect Tarong Power Sta­tion and al­low them to keep op­er­at­ing.

“Since then a pipe­line has been put in fromWiven­hoe Dam to Tarong, that can sup­ply Tarong’s needs.”

A SunWater spokesper­son said the pipe­line be­tween the Tarong Power Sta­tion andWiven­hoe Dam, which is op­er­ated by SEQWater and Stan­well, was dam­aged in 2011.

They said Boon­dooma Dam had not re­ceived any sig­nif­i­cant in­flow since Jan­uary 2015 and had been (go­ing down) grad­u­ally since March 2013 when it was at 100% ca­pac­ity.

As per the Bur­nett Basin Re­source Op­er­a­tions Plan, once Boon­dooma Dam level goes be­low EL 268.67 m AHD (about 70,000 ML), medium pri­or­ity water re­leases must stop to pre­serve high­pri­or­ity water, the spokesper­son said.

The Tarong Power Sta­tion buys ac­cess to high-pri­or­ity water from Boon­dooma Dam, and ir­ri­ga­tors buy medium-pri­or­ity water.

Mr Pos­tle said: “The Boyne ir­ri­ga­tors are very con­cerned as one would have thought that with the cut-off point com­ing up, some ur­gency would have been to get theWiven­hoe to Tarong pipe­line work­ing.

“We have askedWater Sup­ply Min­is­ter Mark Bai­ley would he ur­gently con­sider re­vis­it­ing the cut-off point and when you get to the cut-off, Tarong goes to the pipe­line and the farm­ers get looked af­ter,” he said.

“Farm­ers need to keep pro­duc­ing all the fresh pro­duce the Boyne is renowned for.”

Mr Pos­tle said the loss of the water, even for a few months, would have a dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect on Mun­dub­bera.

“It will ef­fect ev­ery sin­gle busi­ness in our town,” he said.

“They won’t have the money in the town, the money won’t be here, be­cause no water means the crops won’t be grow­ing.

“The big­gest thing too is a lot of th­ese guys have long- term crops, longterm prod­ucts and in­fra­struc­ture, it’s not a sea­sonal thing.

“900 peo­ple are em­ployed be­tween all the farms on the Boyne; $90 mil­lion is pro­duced off that river.

“If you lose them, to hint they can sug­gest cut­ting the water off when Tarong has an al­ter­na­tive sup­ply is be­yond my com­pre­hen­sion.”

Mr Pos­tle said he hoped the min­is­ter would un­der­stand their plight.

“It’s easy to rec­tify,” he said.

“Hope­fully they will recog­nise the value of our farm­ers and the pro­duce they pro­duce and the prod­uct, a lot of pigs, a lot of cat­tle fat­tened on ir­ri­gated pas­ture.”

SunWater in­vited ir­ri­ga­tors and Tarong rep­re­sen­ta­tives to a meet­ing in Mun­dub­bera yes­ter­day to dis­cuss the dam.

PHOTO: TOBI LOF­TUS

WOR­RIED: Dave Innes, Blade McKen­zie, Mark Pos­tle and Matthew Pos­tle are not im­pressed with the Boyne River sit­u­a­tion.

PHOTO: TOBI LOF­TUS

SAVE OUR SUP­PLY: Dave Innes, Blade McKen­zie, Mark Pos­tle and Matthew Pos­tle are not im­pressed with the Boyne River sit­u­a­tion.

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