In a much anticipated event for central Queensland irrigators, farmers were able to begin bidding for water from Rookwood Weir last week.
The weir is being constructed on the Fitzroy River, 66 km south-west of Rockhampton, and the water it will make available will underpin agricultural growth and supply industrial and urban water in central Queensland.
Tenders opened for water allocations of 500 ML and more from 23 June, with contracts to be in place by September.
Queensland’s Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the $352 million weir project was the first significant development in water infrastructure and supply in central Queensland in more than a decade, and would bolster industry in the region.
“Rookwood Weir will underpin production and industrial expansion in the Fitzroy for years to come – all of which means local jobs for the community,” he said.
Sunwater has set out a two-stage sales process, with a second tender for smaller lots in 2022.
The first tender will make up to 30,000 ML of medium priority water available for agricultural and non-urban use, and the second will make at least 7500 ML of smaller medium priority allocations available.
Local members Barry O’Rourke and Brittany Lauga welcomed the milestone, saying they were looking forward to seeing the positive benefits shared throughout the region.
“The start of the water sales process makes this project very tangible for the people of Central Queensland,” O’Rourke said.
“It brings those construction jobs and supplier contracts even closer for the people and businesses of Rocky.”
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said a reliable supply of irrigation water would allow farmers to transition to higher-value agriculture.
“Access to water will boost business investment and give farmers the opportunity to move to intensive irrigated crop production,” she said.
“That’s higher returns for them and the opportunity to expand and create more jobs.”