Enough water to fill 32,000 Olympic swimming pools could be saved every year under a new plan for the Great Artesian Basin.
The new plan replaces the first Great Artesian Basin water plan adopted in 2006, and comes after extensive work by the Great Artesian Basin Advisory Council.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham says the new plan gives farmers incentives to meet a 10-year deadline to deal with the remaining free flowing bores and drains in the basin area.
“The new Great Artesian Basin and Other Regional Aquifers water plan offers landholders 30% of the water they save when they cap bores and pipe drains.”
The Basin provides water for more than 80 regional Queensland towns and grazing, cropping, feedlots, mining, tourism and geothermal power industries from Thargomindah in the south-west to Weipa in the far north.
Under a joint Commonwealth-State Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative, 700 uncontrolled flowing bores have been rehabilitated and more than 14 000 kilometres of bore drains have been replaced with piping. This is saving 207,205 megalitres per annum from the Great Artesian Basin.
The plan also makes water trading more flexible by, for the first time, allowing water licence holders in highly developed areas such the eastern Darling Downs to trade water to encourage economic development in less developed areas such as the Eromanga, Surat and Carpentaria Basins.
The plan makes available a total of 39,505 megalitres of unallocated water reserves across the plan area.
The new plan aims to introduce water available specifically for economic opportunities for Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders across the plan area.
Minister Lynham has thanked the Council, and particularly outgoing chair Roderick Gilmour OAM for his service over more than a decade.
“Mr Gilmour’s contributions to the development of both this plan and the long-term health of the Great Artesian Basin is a testament to his passion for regional communities.”
View the plan at www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/water/catchments-planning/catchments/great-artesian-basin