The Queensland Government is releasing up to 18,200 megalitres of water to rural industries in the state’s Great Artesian Basin.
The aim of the water release is to support rural industries, communities and jobs in the region.
Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham has announced that tenders were being called for the water to boost industry and help drought-affected producers from Cape York to the South Australian border and east to Warwick.
“The release of unallocated water will provide targeted support to rural and agricultural industries including irrigated stock feed, hay production and sorghum cropping,” he said.
“It will help drive regional development and rural industry jobs and support Basin communities through the ongoing drought.
“It will allow drought-affected graziers to obtain water for irrigated fodder cropping and increase their water reliability and livestock feed during times of drought.”
Dr Lynham said tender process would make water available in all management areas of the Great Artesian Basin except the Central management area and the upper management units of the Surat East, Surat North and Surat management areas.
“Successful tenders will be granted a water licence for a specified volume of water per annum,” he said.
“There is demand for new water to be made available in the Basin and we will deliver on that demand through the Great Artesian Basin Water Resource Plan 2006.”
Dr Lynham said the call for tenders coincided with consultation on the development of a new water resource plan for the Great Artesian Basin, Australia’s largest groundwater basin.
“The existing Great Artesian Basin Water Resource Plan 2006 is due to expire on 1 September 2016 so we need to develop a new science-based 10-year plan,” he said.
“I expect water availability will be a topic of considerable interest during the public forums being held in Great Artesian Basin communities until 5 November 2015.”
The Great Artesian Basin underlies more than 1.7 million square kilometres of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory and stores about 64,000 million megalitres of water. About 70 per cent of the Basin lies within Queensland.
Tenders will close on Friday 11 December 2015.