Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz discusses a $2.5 mullion investment for the Central Lockyer Groundwater Irrigation project.
Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz discusses a $2.5 mullion investment for the Central Lockyer Groundwater Irrigation project. ALI KUCHEL

Irrigators gain $2.5 million to fix broken farm water meters

NEW technology, backed by federal funding, will enable farms in the central Lockyer more efficient water usage and growing production.

Today, Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz announced a $2.5million contribution towards the $5m project that would save the local economy from unrealistic water allocations.

The remaining $2.5m will be funded by Seqwater, however Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Anthony Lynham said the costs would be recovered

"Those costs will be recouped, as is the norm, from the users, including irrigators, over the long-term," he said.

At present, more than 80 per cent of farming water meters have been deemed inoperative and have been for several years.

The Federal Government's contribution was drawn from the Commonwealth Development Grant Program, which Mr Buchholz said was ready to be delivered as soon as quotes were presented.

"Without water, the community will suffer and the flow-on effects for the community are enormous," Mr Buchholz said.

The project will include a telemetric operation that will replace meters and allow information to transfer through satellites instantaneously to a central monitoring point.

"The irrigators of the Lockyer Valley have managed the water and infrastructure assets for the past decade," Mr Buchholz said.

"What this new technology allows is the next 100 years to economically, environmentally and sustainably monitor those water levels, so we aren't taking more than what is sustainable out of the aquifers."

Member for Lockyer Jim McDonald called on the Seqwater not to recover costs from the farmers.

"They shouldn't be asking the consumers to bail them out," Mr McDonald said.

 

Lockyer Water Users Forum member Gordon Van der Est.
Lockyer Water Users Forum member Gordon Van der Est. ALI KUCHEL

Lockyer Water Users Forum member Gordon Van der Est was at the announcement and welcomed the federal funding boost.

"For the first time, irrigators will be able to match water extraction with the availability of their water sources in the aquifers," he said.

"This will enable more efficient use of water and greater production."

Dr Lynham was disappointed a negative angle had been taken on the project.

"My department and I have been working co-operatively with farmers on this project," he said.



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