Have your say on future water projects as part of the Southern and Darling Downs Regional Water Assessment

Published Thursday, 16 November, 2023 at 11:30 AM

Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water
The Honourable Glenn Butcher

  • Public consultation underway on future water projects in the Southern and Darling Downs as part of the public consultation for the draft Southern and Darling Downs Regional Water Assessment
  • Preferred water supply options informed by extensive stakeholder consultation, and engineering and economic analysis

After significant consultation with local government, industry and peak body representatives and analysis from experts, the draft Southern and Darling Downs Regional Water Assessment is open for public consultation, with the community encouraged to have their say on future regional water projects.

The draft assessment sets out how existing infrastructure, new infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions can help maximise water supply and drive economic growth in the Southern and Darling Downs.

A list of options on how to improve water security in the Southern and Darling Downs community is being presented to the community for feedback. The draft Regional Water Assessment has identified future options to be explored to unlock more water in the region, including:

  • Developing an on-farm dam evaporation saving initiative for the Granite Belt region.
  • Expanding the use of non-potable recycled water networks in Chinchilla, Inglewood, Warwick and Wetalla, subject to the support of relevant local Councils.
  • Continuing to explore the Granite Belt Irrigation Project, including further geotechnical investigations, confirmation of water availability, pipeline alignment and design development.
  • Commencing a Detailed Business Case for the Warwick to Stanthorpe Pipeline, subject to outcomes of the project development work for the Granite Belt Irrigation Project.
  • Undertaking a detailed assessment of the Glebe Weir Offstream Storage and pipeline augmentation, subject to conditions.
  • Collaborating with the New South Wales Government on ways to optimise water availability in the Border Rivers area.

The Southern and Darling Downs Regional Water Assessment area covers the Toowoomba, Southern Downs, Goondiwindi regional council areas and extends across parts of the Western Downs Regional Council, including Dalby and Chinchilla. 

The assessment is being jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments. Australian Government funding is provided through the National Water Grid Fund.

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek:

“Access to water is critical to keep the Southern and Darling Downs one of Queensland’s most productive food bowls.

“Work being done as part of this regional water assessment ensures we are investing in projects that stack up economically and will provide for our communities into the future.

“I am pleased to see community consideration is now being sought on water security options.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher:

“The Southern and Darling Downs is an important food bowl for Queensland and the nation, so the RWA is a careful look at future water projects to help unlock further opportunities for growth across key sectors in the region.

“Since 2015 the Palaszczuk Government has invested more than $5.2 billion in water infrastructure, creating 3400 jobs across the state. That includes water infrastructure in the Southern and Darling Downs like the Toowoomba to Warwick Pipeline which is under development and delivery of the Southern Downs Drought Resilience Package.

“Not only are we investing in important projects now but we are also doing the planning work to guide future decisions. By engaging with key stakeholders, the community and experts through the RWA process, we are working together and planning for the future needs of our regional communities. I encourage farmers, business owners, and residents to get involved in the consultation process.

“I especially want to thank the mayors, councillors, key stakeholder groups, traditional owners and experts for their ongoing involvement in this process. We work best when we work together.”

Further Information

Public consultation details are available on the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water website.

Public consultation will run from November 16 to December 14. On ground consultation sessions will be held in Toowoomba on November 27, Chinchilla on November 28, Goondiwindi on November 29, Stanthorpe on November 30 and Warwick on December 1.

The Southern and Darling Downs Regional Water Assessment began in mid-2021 and there has been expert analysis and consultation with stakeholders undertaken during this time.

Regional water assessments are also being conducted in the Tablelands, the Bundaberg and Burnett, and the Burdekin regions.

Once complete, the Southern and Darling Downs Regional Water Assessment will be considered by the Queensland Government.


Media contact: Lizzy Aboud – 0474 811 004