Central Lockyer farmers and businesses will have a clear, modern water management system to help them grow their businesses and create jobs from February next year.
Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said an amended Moreton Water Plan was now officially in place, but individual water allocations had yet to be finalised.
“Farmers and businesses in the Lockyer Valley have worked hard negotiating this plan with my department for the past 12 months,” he said.
“The amended plan will help them manage and grow their businesses into the future, but I only wish it came with rain too.
“Like farmers around the state, Central Lockyer landholders are really doing it tough.
“Unfortunately, water plans can’t make it rain.
“But they can ensure that when the drought does break, that the available water will be shared fairly and equitably between all users.”
The new amendment to water plan expands it to include the Central Lockyer Valley Water Supply Scheme. It creates more than 400 tradeable water allocations to replace a collection of 149 unrestricted groundwater licenses, 112 surface water interim allocations and authorisations held by Seqwater and the Lockyer Valley Regional Council.
The allocations will stipulate how much water farmers and businesses are entitled to, and also allow them to buy and sell their water allocations as their businesses require.
The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Seqwater are finalising those allocations, which should be completed in late February 2020.
Dr Lynham acknowledged the hard work of Growcom CEO David Thomson and former Queensland Farmers’ Federation water advisor Ian Johnson.
The Moreton Water Plan regulates:
- water from Clarendon Dam and Bill Gunn Dam, whether it’s piped via the Morton Vale pipeline or supplied directly to water users in Lockyer and Laidley creeks
- how underground water is refilled by water from the Clarendon Dam and Bill Gunn Dam through a series of nine recharge weirs
- groundwater trading in six new trading zones and the related water sharing rules.
It also provides for Seqwater and the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy to measure water use, groundwater levels and water levels in the recharge weirs and dams.