The $32.54 million Mareeba Dimbulah water efficiency project has exceeded initial projections, providing Tablelands growers with 38 per cent more water than predicted. 

Delivered by Sunwater, the water-saving project replaced 14km of pipeline, installed 125 automated irrigation channel control gates and upgraded 157 water offtakes. The project was jointly funded by the Queensland ($20.94 million) and Federal Governments ($11.6 million).

Rigorous water validation assessments have confirmed at least 11,500ML will be saved annually, far exceeding the project target of 8,306ML.

With more than 17,000ha of farmland, the Tablelands is one of Queensland’s most significant food bowls and water availability is a key driver for economic growth and jobs in the region. The project is expected to deliver more than $20 million per year in increased agricultural production for the Tablelands.

A 30-business day public notice period required to finalise the savings has been completed, and it is expected an auction for the new water allocations will be held in mid-2024.

The project’s infrastructure improvements mean the Mareeba-Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme is more responsive to water demands, reducing overflow losses and allowing for more controlled and regulated water delivery.

The new water available for sale will be the first new water available for permanent purchase in the Mareeba Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme since the 1990s.

Queensland Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher, said that this project is a win for Tablelands growers, a win for the local economy and a win for the environment.

“The additional 11,500ML of water will support the wide variety of crops grown in the Tablelands, including bananas, mangoes, avocados, coffee, tea trees and vegetables,” Mr Butcher said. 

“Our $20 million investment in this project is part of this government’s record $5.8 billion investment in water infrastructure since 2015 which has created 3,550 jobs across the state. 

“We know that more water means more jobs, particularly in food bowl regions like the Tablelands.”

Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, said that the Federal Government is committed to providing secure and reliable water right across Queensland.

“It’s fantastic to see this project save even more water than expected, meaning more water goes back to a region known as one of Queensland’s most productive food bowls,” Ms Plibersek said. 

“This is a huge win for growers in the Tablelands who can produce more of the fresh foods Australians rely on and love.”

Far North Queensland Growers’ President, Joe Moro, said that more water for the Tablelands means more delicious produce for Australia. 

“This additional water is a long time coming and I’m pleased to see more water will be available for Tablelands growers,” Mr Moro said. 

“So many Tablelands jobs depend on water and I’m pleased to see more water available for more produce and more jobs.”

Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) CEO, Jo Sheppard said that prioritising water security for growers is critical to the long-term viability of farming enterprises and the Mareeba Dimbulah Water Efficiency Project is a positive outcome for growers in the Tablelands.

“QFF members grow an abundance of crops, from horticulture to cane, with reliable irrigated water vital to on-farm productivity and efficiency,” Ms Sheppard said. 

“We support the Queensland and Australian government efforts to modernise irrigation schemes and deliver water infrastructure that prioritises water availability and reliability for farmers.”

Sunwater CEO, Glenn Stockton, said that Sunwater is pleased this complex modernisation project will now boost water reliability and service delivery to its customers across the Mareeba-Dimbulah region.

“The new automated channel gates measure and regulate water flow, which improve the supply scheme’s ability to meet grower demand, as well as make more water available,” Mr Stockton said. 

“The more than 11,500ML will be the first new water available in the scheme this century and we look forward to seeing how it will bring increased prosperity for the region.”

Featured image: (L-R) Far North Queensland Growers’ President, Joe Moro, Queensland Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher, and Member for Cook Cynthia Lui at the Mareeba Dimbulah water efficiency project. Image credit: Queensland Government.

Find Irrigation Related Companies In The Pump Industry Capability Guide

Related articles

©2024 Pump Industry. All rights reserved


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account