The Mareeba-Dimbulah Efficiency Improvement Project, a $32.54 million Queensland efficiency project to enhance water delivery, has been completed. 

The project was undertaken by Sunwater and jointly funded, with the Federal Government contributing $11.6 million through the National Water Grid Fund and the Queensland Government contributing $20.94 million.

The project aims to deliver water to more than 17,000 hectares of Far North Queensland farmland. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said the project has upgraded key water infrastructure so that more of the precious resource will go to growers in the Atherton Tablelands.

“This project will increase access to reliable water across the region and deliver a major boost to local growers, generating around $20 million per year in increased agricultural production,” Mr Joyce said. 

“Securing water access is game-changing for our farmers and their communities, as it creates jobs, wealth and a stronger agricultural sector.

“That is why the Australian Government is investing $3.5 billion in projects just like this under our ten year rolling plan for vital water infrastructure across the country, providing a long-term strategy to build the dams, weirs and pipelines that our agricultural and regional communities need and deserve.”

Queensland Water Minister, Glenn Butcher, said the project will save up to 8,306ML of high-value water through new modernised infrastructure, which will reduce losses and improve service reliability to growers.

“As Queensland’s Minister for Water, I am thrilled to see this project finalised and even happier the construction component of these water-saving works provided jobs for 18 Queenslanders,” Mr Butcher said.

“Queensland’s vital agricultural sector stands to benefit, as growers will be able to better service a variety of crops, including sugar cane, bananas, mangoes, avocados, coffee, tea trees and vegetables.

“Thanks to this project, $20 million of which was funded by the Queensland Government, water will now be delivered to the region based on demand, which we know will improve reliability and maximise the amount available to growers.”

The new automated channel gates measure and regulate water flow, which will subsequently improve the supply scheme’s ability to meet grower demand, as well as make more water available.

Senator for Queensland and Special Envoy for Northern Australia, Susan McDonald, said the project replaced and installed 14km of pipeline, installed 125 automated control gates in irrigation channels, and upgraded 157 water offtakes.

“I am pleased to see this vital project complete and ready to benefit locals,” Mr McDonald said.

“This forms part of the Australian Government’s unwavering commitment to secure Australia’s water future – including in North and Far North Queensland.

“We have already committed nearly $500 million to water infrastructure projects in North and Far North Queensland that will not only increase water security in established agricultural areas but also unlock agricultural opportunities in new regions, backing our economy, exports and job creation.”

State Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui, said the infrastructure is critical in securing the future for growers in the electorate.

“I understand the importance of water security for our region and the Mareeba-Dimbulah Efficiency Improvement Project will give growers confidence that they will receive reliable water supply and improved service delivery,” Ms Lui said.

With construction now complete, the process to validate water savings is underway, and once the savings are confirmed, new water allocations will be made available for sale.

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