THE Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has welcomed finalising of funding arrangements for the Federal Coalition’s $650,000 commitment to re-examine a visionary project that would divert south-east Queensland’s treated waste water for agricultural and industrial use.
The ‘NuWater’ project, funded through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (NWIDF), will be managed by QFF in consultation with unofficial consortium members.
The project will undertake a feasibility study on delivering recycled water from Brisbane via the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme to the Lockyer Valley and Darling Downs agricultural areas – an idea first examined in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Darling Downs cotton grower Graham Clapham said the project could deliver up to 100,000 megalitres a year of south-east Queensland’s recycled waste water for agricultural and industrial use.
“Treated waste water could be put to good use on our farms. The opportunity for a ‘win-win-win’ result for farmers, urban water recyclers and the environment is compelling, but we need to see if it is economically feasible,” Mr Clapham said.
AgForce spokesperson, grain and cotton grower Kim Bremner said additional water on the Downs would enable farmers to increase investment in their businesses and look at alternative crops, which would inject tens of millions of dollars into local economies.
“If the feasibility study stacks up, Lockyer Valley and Darling Downs farmers will have access to additional water and greater water security. One thing that is unquestionable is that investment follows water,” Mr Bremner said.
Lockyer Valley fruit and vegetable grower Anthony Staatz said the project provided an opportunity to meet the growing and sustained demand for water for agriculture and better utilise treated waste water.
“Water is limiting growth opportunities in the Lockyer Valley and this project has the potential to realise sensible and mutually beneficial outcomes for the whole region,” Mr Staatz said.
It is expected that a draft feasibility study will be completed towards the end of the year.
The unofficial NuWater project consortium members are: Queensland Farmers’ Federation, Cotton Australia, Central Downs Irrigators Limited, Growcom, Queensland Chicken Meat Council, Agforce, Lockyer Valley Growers, Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise, and Queensland Urban Utilities.