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A new program to increase water reliability and security has been launched in Bundaberg and Burnett following the announcement that Paradise Dam will be restored to its original height.

The Bundaberg and Burnett Regional Water Assessment will identify how investment in water can further enhance future agricultural, industrial and urban growth.

Queensland Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher, said the program would help unlock the economic potential of one of Queensland’s most important food bowls.

“This in-depth assessment is part of the Queensland Government’s commitment to industries and communities as we continue to deliver our plan to build back from the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Butcher said.

“With the start of this program, we are keeping our promise to explore ways to secure a sustainable future for our regions.”

Queensland Member for Bundaberg, Tom Smith, said the assessment is more evidence of the Queensland Government’s commitment to water security.

“Together with our decision to restore Paradise Dam to its original height, we are committed to supporting growers by investing in necessary infrastructure that delivers long-term water security for the region,” Mr Smith said.

“The project will bring together up-to-date information and evidence to help ensure availability of the right amount of water, at the right time, for water users in the Bundaberg and Burnett region.”

Sunwater will lead the assessment on behalf of the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water (DRDMW), and it will use existing customer, stakeholder and community connections in the region to identify all water supply options.

“The initiative will draw on advice from the community, irrigators, industry groups, technical experts, and Cherbourg, South Burnett, North Burnett and Bundaberg councils, to identify water supply options in the region,” Mr Butcher said.

Sunwater Chief Executive Officer, Glenn Stockton, welcomed the opportunity for the water service provider to lead the assessment, which will run for 18-24 months.

“We will be working closely with stakeholders to identify the future water demands for the area, as well as compiling a comprehensive list of potential projects,” Mr Stockton said.

“At the end of this process, we will have a strategy that sets out how existing infrastructure, possible new infrastructure, and other solutions can be used to maximise water supply and drive economic growth.”

The Queensland Government is investing $9 million in regional water assessments across three food bowls of Queensland.

In addition to Bundaberg and Burnett, work is already underway on assessments in the Southern and Darling Downs and Mareeba-Atherton Tablelands regions, which are being led by the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water.

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