Greater water availability will have positive economic benefits for both the South and North Burnett

UPDATE: March 15:  South Burnett Regional Council has announced the Burnett Water Feasibility Study engagement workshops scheduled to be held in Murgon (March 16), Blackbutt (March 17) and Kingaroy (March 18) have been postponed. These events have been cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions.

February 3, 2020

A series of public meetings and workshops will be held across the South Burnett over the next few weeks as part of the $2 million Burnett Water Feasibility Study.

Current and future water users – and anyone else interested – have been invited to attend a public information and registration session which will be held on February 12, from 5:30pm to 7:00pm, at the Kingaroy RSL Club.

This will be followed by community consultation meetings to hear from water users and discuss the strategic business case:

  • Murgon: 10:00am-noon on Monday, March 16, at the Murgon RSL Club
  • Blackbutt: 10:00am-noon on Tuesday, March 17, at the Blackbutt Hall
  • Kingaroy: 10:00am-noon on Wednesday, March 18, at the Kingaroy Town Hall

After each of these March meetings, the consultants hired to conduct the study, Jacobs, will be available to talk to individual water users or groups from 12:30pm to 3:30pm.

A South Burnett Regional Council spokesperson said it was essential that water users register to attend sessions in advance so the Jacobs team could develop a meeting schedule for those wanting to speak to the team one-on-one.

A key goal of the community consultations is to inform Council about how much water you need, where it needs to be delivered, and how it will be used.

To register an interest in any of the sessions, email your contact details to waterstudy@southburnett.qld.gov.au

“If you have significant volumes of demand, Jacobs may contact you to organise a face-to-face meeting,” the spokesperson said.

“Anyone who takes the positive step of registering their interest in this study should receive email invitations to the program of upcoming consultation meetings.”

  • More information about the Burnett Water Feasibility Study is available online

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Burnett Water Feasibility Study

The South and North Burnett Regional Councils each received $1 million from the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund to identify the long-term water needs of the region and develop a shortlist of potential options for meeting those needs.

The Burnett Water Feasibility Study will recommend solutions which have the potential to increase the total volume of water available and/or improve water security for irrigators, businesses and towns.

Last year a Steering Committee of the project’s key stakeholders was formed and Jacobs were appointed to undertake the study.

Jacobs started working closely with the two councils and major water users in November, spending several days in the North and South Burnett talking to key stakeholders and visiting farms and potential infrastructure sites.

The consultants also began a review of previous studies and is working with Sunwater on its long-term water blueprint for the region, which is a concurrent study.

Jacobs is considering sites for new weirs, dams and pipelines and other solutions.

Initial discussions have been held with berry, citrus, cotton, fodder, nut tree, peanut and other farming enterprises.

Jacobs has also held discussions with commercial irrigators in the Barker Barambah Water Supply Scheme and other areas.

Further conversations will be held with the Tarong power station, orchardists, duboisia and meat producers and processors outside the Barker Barambah scheme.

In North Burnett, Jacobs met with representatives of the Boyne River Scheme and Coalstoun Lakes.

The initial study is a strategic business case which will clarify the challenges and opportunities and develop a long list of possible water projects.

This draft strategic business case will be available in March 2020.

Consultation results will then be considered and used to support subsequent development of a preliminary business case, which is intended for completion by July 2020.

This second stage of the study will develop a short-list of preferred options for the North and South Burnett Council areas.

This is where funding for the current project ends.

Assuming that potentially viable options are identified and funding is available, the next major step would be the development of detailed business cases for one or two shortlisted options from each council area.

This process would consider and/or develop engineering designs, construction and operation costings, water pricing, environmental and social matters and details of who would build, own and operate any new infrastructure.

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