State’s bulk water supply focus
THE Queensland Government has released a future bulk water security strategy which aims to improve the balance in the utilisation of existing bulk water infrastructure and new water projects.
The Queensland Bulk Water Opportunities Statement outlines the government’s priorities, including an objective to consider projects that will provide regional economic benefits.
This is considered an important factor as water projects may have longer term benefits that might not attract a commercial return in the shorter term.
Queensland Farmers Federation president Stuart Armitage said collected data in the report indicates that bulk water supplies across the state have more than 270,000 mega-litres of uncommitted water.
“That could be made available for sale or lease,” Mr Armitage said.
“It has also been estimated that about 300,000 mega-litres of existing water entitlements held in bulk schemes are underutilised.
“Together these amounts are more than twice the total allocations from Wivenhoe Dam and could be made available for economic development without the need for new bulk water supply infrastructure.”
This will be subject to the availability of water in areas of high demand.
“The Queensland Farmers’ Federation has been driving the agenda to improve how the state utilises water,” Mr Armitage said.
“Not only for bulk, but in the irrigation distribution schemes too.”
There are currently eight major irrigation distribution schemes and their customers have voiced an eagerness to improve utilisation to drive down water prices.
“However, there are a range of factors that affect utilisation of water in addition to holding reserves to manage the impact of drought,” Mr Armitage said.
“And the water-losses in distribution schemes because of evaporation and drainage are quite significant.”
QFF: President Stuart Armitage has spoken about water futures.