United front to fight for long term water security
A COLLOBORATIVE effort between the Lockyer Valley and Somerset councils will put their combined weight behind the latest push to secure the long term water security of the two regions.
In order to form a united front on the issue, the two councils have come together alongside a number of stakeholders to establish the Lockyer Valley and Somerset Water Collaborative.
The group's first priority is to secure funding and they have applied for a grant worth $1.4 million through the Maturing the Infrastructure Pipeline Program 2 to support the preparation of a business case for the Lockyer Valley and Somerset Water Security Scheme.
The project would look at establishing a pipeline to pump waste water from Wivenhoe Dam and, potentially from the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme, into the region's own water sources.
Former Queensland Minister Stephen Robertson has been appointed as chair and project manager for the initiative.
Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Tanya Milligan said the group would find out if they were successful for funding for their business case at the end of June.
"The community's been plugging (at this) for probably 30 to 40 years and I think now is the best time because you have all the stakeholders now at the table and there's strength in numbers," Cr Milligan said.
"We all know how important it is and we don't want our kids, and our kids' kids, in the next 30 or 40 years to have to be sitting around scratching their heads and wondering what will our future look like... so there's piece of mind that there's sustainability and there's security.
"It really is about, yes water for our farmers, but it's about water for business, it's about water for our varied livelihood, it's for tourism."
Mr Robertson said the unity between the two councils would be a crucial aspect in getting the project off the ground.
"Can I just commend both Somerset and Lockyer Valley councils for their vision and their commitment to collaborate. We haven't seen that in the past," Mr Robertson said.
"That's really critical when you're talking about a number of different departments, different levels of government (and) individual politicians.
"A critical part of putting those parts together is to get everyone speaking with the one voice. Arguably that may not have been the case in years gone by, the reason I've come on board is because I'm confident that this task force does speak with one voice."
Lockyer Valley Growers president Michael Sippel said a secure water supply gives added security to the entire region's horticulture industry.
"We have a huge interest in export markets now, not just domestic... so it gives our growers some certainty on securing those markets and securing for their employees and their contracts they supply. It has a massive impact on us," Mr Sippel said.