Call for community input on Lower Fitzroy River water project

28 Sep 2009

Consultation with communities and other stakeholders in the Fitzroy River area has commenced for a key water infrastructure project, Gladstone Area Water Board and SunWater said today.

In cooperation with Rockhampton Regional Council, the Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project is investigating new water infrastructure developments, specifically weirs, on the Fitzroy River.

GAWB Chief Executive Officer Jim Grayson said the proposed Project is investigating a number of developments to secure additional water supply to meet future regional water demands, focusing on the feasibility of raising the Eden Bann Weir and constructing a new weir at Rookwood.

“These proposed developments at Eden Bann Weir and Rookwood are being investigated in detail through a range of environmental and engineering studies to contribute to the preparation of a Business Case for the project,” he said.

The proposed Project is part of the Queensland Government’s commitment to examining ways to increase water supply for the Fitzroy region and contribute to meeting the region’s future urban, industrial, mining and agricultural water needs.

“GAWB and SunWater are responding to the challenges of meeting future water supply through examining these options, which are included in the Central Queensland Regional Water Supply Strategy.”

“We are carrying out the necessary technical investigations and environmental assessments to inform a Business Case so that we are ready for construction when demand warrants it and should the Government decide this is an appropriate response to regional water supply needs”.

SunWater Chief Executive Officer Peter Boettcher said the decision to construct any new water infrastructure will depend on the outcomes of the Business Case, successful completion of assessments required by government and obtaining necessary government and other approvals.

“Working with the Gladstone Area Water Board, we are actively examining the water supply options that will increase water reliability and security for existing water users and support further regional development,” he said.

SunWater own and operate the Eden Bann Weir, which was constructed in 1994, and is approximately 50 kilometres from Rockhampton.

Mr Boettcher said community input is an important part of the project investigations, particularly in assessing the potential environmental, economic and social impacts of the proposed developments.

“We are seeking public input to the impact assessment work so we understand how the proposed options may benefit or impact the community, from landowners adjacent to the Fitzroy River, and the broader communities,” he said.

Upcoming information sessions provide a channel through which community members can comment, ask questions of the project team, and get an understanding of the scope of the investigations.”

Community consultation activities will be held during October with community information sessions to be held in Rockhampton and Gogango.

 Raising Eden Bann Weir, raising the Fitzroy Barrage and constructing a new weir near Rookwood Crossing are included in a State Government Program of Works for the Statewide Water Grid (Regional Water Infrastructure Projects), with funding provided for preliminary engineering and environmental investigations.

GAWB and SunWater have engaged consultant GHD to provide technical assistance in the environmental and engineering assessments as well as the public consultation activities.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will explore the potential environmental, economic and social impacts likely to be associated with the Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project.

This will include responding to the requirements of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1994 for Matters of National Environmental Significance.

Public input will be considered and reported in the draft EIA Report which will then be placed on public exhibition.

The Central Queensland Regional Water Supply Strategy, released in 2006, identified that the short- to medium term urban and industrial water resource needs of the Lower Mackenzie-Fitzroy sub-region that cannot be met by water trading and efficiency measures are expected to be met by raising Eden Bann Weir and / or construction of a weir at Rookwood.

 This would provide a means to store water resources currently available in the system but as yet unallocated.

Further details of the project consultation activities are included in the Project’s first Newsletter, on the website at www.fitzroyweirs.com.au, and by contacting the project team on 1800 423 213 or fitzroyweirs@ghd.com.au.

 

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Glenn Pfluger
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Email glenn.pfluger@sunwater.com.au

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