Have your say on the Water for Bowen project

07 Nov 2009

Public feedback is now being sought on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a $400 million project to supply water from the Burdekin River to Bowen.

Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Coordinator-General Colin Jensen had approved the release of an EIS for the Water for Bowen project.

"SunWater plans to provide Abbot Point industries, the region's farmers and Bowen residents with a new source of water for future growth," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"The project could transport up to 60,000 megalitres of water a year from the Clair Weir to relieve pressure on the region's dams, bores and rivers.

"Water could flow south from the Burdekin River to Bowen and surrounding areas for industrial and agricultural needs.

"A project of this nature is proposed as existing water supplies are expected to reach capacity soon and water restrictions are frequently in place.

"The State Government's long-term vision for regional economic growth and prosperity is based on the emergence of Mount Isa, Townsville and Bowen as a triangle of mining, mineral processing and industrial development.

"The supply of water to industries and residents is not only a critical step in that vision but it also has major benefits for agricultural use between Home Hill and Bowen."

Mr Hinchliffe said just over half the water from this planned project would go to urban and industrial users, and the rest would be for agriculture needs.

The project includes 93km of open channels and 63km of main pipeline with smaller reticulation pipelines, five pump stations, two balancing storages and ancillary infrastructure.

The plastic or clay-lined channels would be 15m wide, 2.3m above ground level and the water depth would be about 1.6m.

Around 70 properties would be affected by the project, either by a 50m wide channel corridor, a 20m easement for pipeline or by other infrastructure.

Between 882 and 1176 jobs would be sustained each year for the two-year construction period.

Mr Jensen said he was satisfied the EIS prepared by SunWater met its terms of reference.

"Advertising starts tomorrow asking for more public feedback on this project over the next five weeks," Mr Jensen said.

"The release of the EIS is not an approval, rather it gives any interested person or organisation the chance to make a submission on the project.

"The EIS should identify the project's potential benefits and impacts during construction and operation and provide options to mitigate adverse impacts.

"Community input is invaluable in my assessment and I encourage written submissions on environmental, cultural, social, economic and other impacts."

After reviewing written submissions on the EIS, the Coordinator-General will determine if a supplementary report is needed or if he can proceed directly to a decision on the project.

If approved, construction could begin in 2011.

The EIS can be viewed online at www.dip.qld.gov.au/projects or at www.sunwater.com.au. All submissions must be in writing and received by the Coordinator-General by 5pm Monday, 14 December 2009.

For more information on the EIS process please contact the Department of Infrastructure and Planning on waterforbowen@dip.qld.gov.au or (07) 3235 4620.

Media contact: Minister Hinchliffe's office, Tel: (07) 3224 8750

Media Enquiries

Glenn Pfluger
Media Advisor
Phone +61 7 3120 0047
Mobile 0407 574 663
Email glenn.pfluger@sunwater.com.au

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