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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Natural Resources and Water and Minister Assisting the Premier in North Queensland
    The Honourable Craig Wallace

    LANDMARK 10-YEAR PLAN SECURES WATER FOR BURDEKIN BASIN

    Minister for Natural Resources and Water and Minister Assisting the Premier in North Queensland
    The Honourable Craig Wallace

    Thursday, August 23, 2007

    LANDMARK 10-YEAR PLAN SECURES WATER FOR BURDEKIN BASIN

    Water Resources Minister Craig Wallace today released the groundbreaking Burdekin Basin Water Resource Plan, which provides a blueprint for supplying water to the Burdekin Basin over the next decade.

    Highpoints of the plan are:

    ·The creation of over 1.2 million megalitres of new tradeable water allocations to irrigators worth an estimated $650 million to them.

    ·It also provides for up to 540,000 megalitres more water a year for urban, rural and industrial growth in the region.

    ·Up to 150,000 megalitres of additional water a year could be provided by raising the Burdekin Falls Dam by two metres.

    ·It protects the environment, including the Great Barrier Reef, by ensuring that at least three-quarters of Burdekin River flows will still reach the sea.

    ·Townsville and Thuringowa’s urban and industrial water demands will be met for many years to come.

    ·It also supports SunWater’s Burdekin to Moranbah pipeline for the coal industry.

    ·Potential expansion of horticulture and other industries in the Lower Burdekin, Gumlu and Bowen areas is provided for.

    ·Up to 150,000 megalitres a year will be earmarked for the Bowen and Broken sub-catchments primarily for industrial use.

    “This plan, which was five years in the making, ensures the Burdekin Basin will have a secure water supply in the long term,” Mr Wallace said.

    “It sets sustainable management goals for the allocation and management of water in watercourses, lakes, springs and overland flow in the Burdekin and Haughton catchments,” he said.

    Current irrigators are big winners – they will get over 1.2 million megalitres of tradeable water allocations in the Burdekin, Haughton and Bowen Broken water supply schemes.

    “This will be worth $650 million to them,” Mr Wallace said.

    The plan also provides up to 540,000 megalitres a year of additional unallocated water to meet expected urban, rural and industrial growth.

    Mr Wallace said the plan provided for a reserve of water that could support a minor (two metre) raising of Burdekin Falls Dam, Queensland’s largest dam.

    “Increasing the height of Burdekin Falls Dam would increase capacity by 590,000 megalitres to 2,450,000 megalitres and yield up to 150,000 megalitres a year of additional water.”

    The increased 590,000 megalitre capacity is around four times the combined annual water usage of Thuringowa and Townsville.

    Mr Wallace said he strongly supported raising the Burdekin Falls Dam.

    He said while the plan provided for future development opportunities, it also ensured that at least three-quarters of Burdekin River flows — an average of about 5,910,000 megalitres a year — will still reach the sea.

    “This will maintain the health of the river, related aquatic ecosystems and the important reef and marine environments.”

    Mr Wallace said finalisation of the plan only had been possible with the support and participation of the Burdekin Basin community.

    “Input from the community helped to shape the plan which provides a blueprint for security and opportunity.”

    The plan is available from the Department of Natural Resources and Water at www.nrw.qld.gov.au/wrp/burdekin.

    A report — to be released with 30 business days — will summarise the issues raised during the consultation process and how they were considered in finalising the plan.

    Media inquiries: Paul Childs, Craig Wallace’s office, on 0407 131 654.