Central Queensland growers will have access to more reliable water after the Liberal and Nationals Government announced it will provide more than $3 million toward the modernisation of the Nogoa Mackenzie Water Supply Scheme.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael McCormack, said this was an important project for Queensland, as increased water availability would benefit agricultural production and communities.

“This project will tackle water transmission losses and inefficiencies—such as evaporation—owing to long travel times of around four days from Fairbairn Dam at the east of the scheme, which are hampering the existing supply scheme,” Mr McCormack said.

“This investment is part of the Liberal and Nationals Government’s $580 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund, which is accelerating the detailed planning necessary to inform water infrastructure investment funding—underpinning the growth of regional economies and communities.”

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matthew Canavan, said the investment builds on commitments made through the Agricultural Competitiveness and Northern Australia White Papers.

“It further delivers on our now $230 million commitment to fund water infrastructure studies and projects in Northern Australia—up $30 million from the $200 million we originally committed through the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia,” Mr Canavan said.

Member for Flynn, Ken O’Dowd, said the Nogoa Mackenzie Scheme supplied around 15,000 hectares of irrigated land, centred on the towns of Emerald and Blackwater.

“Taking water from Fairbairn Dam via more than 500km  of river and delivery channels, the scheme serves irrigation for a wide range of crops including cotton, wheat, other grains and pulses, fodder, macadamia trees and other horticulture,” Mr O’Dowd said.

“The proposed upgrade will prevent water transmission losses, boosting the bottom line of all these hard-working regional businesses across central Queensland.

“The project will involve lining of 34.4km of the Selma channel systems to reduce losses and installing four new gauging stations and position monitoring weir gates at Bedford, Bingegan and Tartrus weirs.

“In addition, it will see up to 92 flowmeters, data loggers and back-to-base communications installed on all customer offtakes along the Nogoa and Mackenzie Rivers to better manage water delivery and reduce transmission losses.”

The Australian Government has committed $3.011 million to the project in partnership with the Queensland Government, with works to be delivered through SunWater. 

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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