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Monday, July 15, 2024

Efficiency project makes it rain on Tablelands

GROWERS on the Tablelands part of the Mareeba Dimbulah irrigation efficiency project are overjoyed as the project has exceeded expectations, providing 38 per cent more water than anticipated.

The $32.54 million project, delivered by Sunwater, involved significant infrastructure upgrades, including the replacement of 14 kilometres of pipeline, installation of 125 automated irrigation channel control gates, and upgrades to 157 water off-takes.

Jointly funded by the Queensland and Australian Governments, this initiative aims to enhance water availability and support economic growth in the region.

Water validation assessments have confirmed annual water savings of at least 11,500 megalitres, surpassing the project’s target of 8,306 megalitres.

 The additional water is expected to generate over $20 million per year in increased agricultural production for the Tablelands, benefiting a variety of crops grown in the region, including bananas, mangoes, avocados, and vegetables.

FNQ Growers President Joe Moro was overjoyed to hear about the projects success and is looking forward to seeing the effects in the soil.

“The Tablelands is one of our country’s most important food bowls – with more water, we can feed more people with our delicious produce,” he said.

“This additional water is a long time coming and I’m pleased to see more water will be available for Tablelands growers.

“So many Tableland’s jobs depend on water and I’m pleased to see more water available for more produce and more jobs.”

The project’s enhancements have rendered the scheme more responsive to water demands, thereby reducing overflow losses and enabling more controlled and regulated water delivery.

These works have positioned the scheme to better meet the needs of growers and stakeholders in the region.

Sunwater CEO Glenn Stockton said he was pleased to be able to deliver the project and positively effect the livelihoods of so many farmers.

“Sunwater is pleased this complex modernisation project will now boost water reliability and service delivery to our customers across the Mareeba-Dimbulah region,” he said.

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

“The more than 11,500 megalitres will be the first new water available in the scheme this century and we look forward to seeing how it will bring increased prosperity for the region.”

The surplus water will mark the first time new water is being offered for permanent purchase in the Mareeba Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme since the 1990s.

Following the completion of a 30-business day public notice period required to finalise the savings, an auction for the new water allocations is expected to be held in mid-2024.

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Cairns south medical centre extends hours and Airport enters landmark renewable agreement.

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