THE Coalition Government is delivering greater water security for the Lockyer Valley through $770,000 to fast-track studies into aquifer recharge and using recycled water to expand agricultural production.
Federal Member for Wright Buchholz said the aquifer recharge study would include considering alternative secure water supplies and innovative water delivery for current and expanded horticulture in the Lockyer catchment.
“Innovative ideas which will be considered include installing low emission pumps, use of remote monitoring and emerging technologies for direct aquifer recharge,” he said.
“The recycled water study will investigate the feasibility of utilising water from Brisbane's urban outfall that currently runs into Moreton Bay and redirecting it to the agricultural regions of the Lockyer Valley and Darling Downs.
“The project has the potential to provide 100,000 million litres of irrigation water to agriculture and industry each year, reducing by this amount the treatment and release of water into Moreton Bay, which would reduce nutrient load into that waterway.
“Making this extra water available to agriculture could increase on-farm production by more than $100 million a year, with flow on benefits to regional communities and also the environment.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce made the announcement as part of a $150 million funding commitment to fast-track the feasibility assessment and construction of water infrastructure across Queensland.
“The Coalition is expediting the planning work required to get water infrastructure projects shovel-ready because we are serious about ensuring water infrastructure gets built as quickly as possible, to help support strong regional economies and communities,” he said.
“This work is a key part of the process, detailing the feasibility, economic returns and sustainability of this project, as we identify the best sites to deliver new water infrastructure.”
Minister Joyce said the Coalition was delivering on its $2.5 billion commitment to building the water infrastructure of the future.
“It’s the right time for our significant investment in water infrastructure. A transitioning economy and growing global demand for agrifood products mean this is a time of unprecedented opportunity for our agriculture sector,” he said.
“As the economy transitions and diversifies, agricultural exports are playing a more important role than ever in our nation’s economy and prosperity. Rural exports have already overtaken coal to become our second-largest export after iron ore.
“The Coalition is taking action by carrying out the most significant investment in infrastructure in Australian history, including through the roll-out of our $15 billion water reform agenda, so we can make the most of these opportunities.
“From water infrastructure, to transport infrastructure and digital infrastructure, the Coalition is laying the foundations to support a productive and profitable agriculture sector, and a strong national economy.”