WATER security in the region was front and centre last Friday as the Yungaburra CWA Hall played host to a community meeting to discuss a variety of issues currently impacting the Tablelands.
The meeting was held by the Liberal National Party Atherton Branch, and saw LNP Shadow Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Andrew Powell in attendance.
With Cairns asking for a solution to their long-term water supply and a number of Tableland farmers voicing their concerns surrounding water affordability, the LNP Atherton Branch feel they could potentially have the answer – and it is not the Nullinga Dam.
The water transfer proposal is being billed as one that could supply water to the Mareeba-Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme and Cairns for more than 100 years courtesy of the North Johnstone River Catchment.
This will hopefully ensure growth in the agricultural sector and not increase the cost of water by allowing a greater increase in the throughput of water in Tinaroo Dam.
In the proposal, it outlines that the cost of transferring the water will be offset by hydroelectricity generation, with the catchment to be diverted by three dams on the Beatrice River, Dirran Creek and North Johnstone River.
All three of those rivers lie east of Malanda and Milla Milla, an area on the Tablelands which receives more than 2000 millimetres of rain annually.
The proposal’s unconfirmed yield expectation to come from the three dams is 384,000 mega litres per year, which is well and truly sufficient in providing for the region.
Minister Powell said the purpose of his visit was to hear from locals around a couple of key areas, namely the region’s water infrastructure.
“There’s a lot of interest here around lifting the water from the North Johnstone to Tinaroo as outlined in the presentation, which is something we’ll definitely be looking at,” he said.
“In addition to going over this diversion scheme, we’ve announced (LNP) a couple of key things for this region such as the establishment of the Queensland Dam Company along with our commitment to getting Nullinga Dam shovel ready.”
“We’re consistently hearing in Far North Queensland that Nullinga really needs to happen, so while today’s presentation was about alternative water infrastructure, we still think Nullinga Dam is something the residents in this part of Queensland want.
“We don’t need to take an either-or approach regarding the implementation of water infrastructure in FNQ; if we’re elected next year we could potentially deliver both if it makes sense from a logistical and financial standpoint.”