The Queensland Government has opened consultation over the Rookwood Weir in Rockhampton, with a view to ensuring the project meets agricultural needs and boosts jobs and economic growth.
A Statement of Proposals is now public, outlining several options for how the water in Rookwood Weir could be allocated. All options include high priority water for Gladstone and medium priority water for farmers.
High priority water is more reliable than medium, costs more, and is typically used for town water or industry. Medium priority is typically what farmers buy.
Queensland Natural Resources Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, said this next significant stage of planning would ensure the $352 million project delivered maximum growth opportunities, with new jobs to farmers and industry.
“The Fitzroy Basin Water Plan is being amended to support the construction and operation of this region-changing piece of water infrastructure,” Dr Lynham said.
“Sunwater and my Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy are bringing options for consultation to the people who know best what they need – farmers, urban water authorities, and industry.
“With their input, Rookwood will deliver the optimum volume of high and medium priority water, the water trading opportunities, in the right mix and where they were needed.
“That’s how we maximise the growth opportunities for agriculture and industry and the local jobs that will flow from this development.”
Dr Lynham said federal input was needed now, with the Queensland Government progressing the project with $66 million in state funds.
“Central Queensland is still waiting on commitment from Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister, Michael McCormack, on federal funding.”
Dr Lynham said the existing water plan includes a number of environmental safeguards, including limiting impacts on turtles and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
“These safeguards will continue to be met when the weir is constructed and operational,” he said.
“Conducting the consultation now ensures final design and construction of the weir fits hand-in-hand with the framework for sustainably allocating and managing the water resource.”
Dr Lynham said Sunwater would also soon start sales and marketing activity for the Rookwood water, which would eventually include a tender process for water allocations.
Consultation on the Statement of Proposals will be integrated into a draft water plan, which will be released for a second round of feedback in the second half of 2020.
A final water plan will take the submissions on the draft water plan and the final weir design into consideration to ensure the plan is in place around the time construction of the weir starts in 2021.
Consultation is open until 5pm, 12 June 2020 and includes video conferences, phone meetings, as well as the usual online submissions, to meet COVID-19 social distancing requirements.
Rookwood Weir is being constructed on the Fitzroy River, 66km south-west of Rockhampton. It will create up to 100 jobs.
The weir is expected to make thousands of megalitres of water, which will underpin agricultural growth and supply industrial and urban water in central Queensland.
The Queensland Government has allocated $149 million over two years to allow detailed planning and design, and on ground works to proceed.
Construction is scheduled to start by April 2021, for wet commissioning in January 2024.
View more information about Rookwood Weir or take part in consultation here.