Irrigators and SunWater work together to maximise water delivery as high demand stretches Burdekin water supply

19 Dec 2013

Warm temperatures and extensive irrigated crop areas continue to drive water demand in the Burdekin region, with high demand stretching the capacity of the channel delivery system.

SunWater General Manager, Bulk Water and Irrigation Systems, Tom Vanderbyl said the current hot and dry weather conditions have rapidly increased water demand across the region.

“SunWater and the Burdekin River Irrigation Area Committee (BRIAC) are working closely together to implement equitable water delivery arrangements for irrigators across the Burdekin River Irrigation Area,” he said.

Russ McNee, Manager of Invicta Canegrowers and the BRIA Committee said the reduction in productivity as a result of restricted irrigation during the peak growing period has been highlighted to SunWater.

“This is why the BRIA Committee is working with SunWater to maximise the delivery of available water as a matter of urgency,” he said.

Mr Vanderbyl said the Tom Fenwick Pump Station is currently delivering 1,950 megalitres per day to irrigators on the Barratta and Haughton channels, as well as supplementing the Haughton River and the Giru Benefitted Area.

“Irrigators are restricted to their peak-flow entitlement and we are bringing our channel delivery infrastructure to full working capacity to maximise the amount of water being delivered to irrigators,” he said.

“With hot, dry conditions and clean water, the rapid growth of submerged weeds may also reduce the capacity of irrigation channels.

“We are using excavators to dislodge any submerged ribbon weed in an effort to maximise the channel’s capacity during this peak demand period.”

Mr Vanderbyl said rainfall in the Haughton River catchment would be a welcome sight for irrigators dependent on this system and praised the cooperation of irrigators and local SunWater staff who are working to manage the high demand and workload, with support from SunWater’s senior managers in the region.

“This close working relationship is testament to the dedication of both irrigators and SunWater staff who have been working extensive hours to maximise the water delivery to customers,” he said.

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