As we reach the end of the year, it’s a fitting time to provide an update on the Granite Belt Irrigation Project (GBIP), which will deliver a 12,000 megalitre dam at Emu Swamp and 126 km of pipeline to provide a reliable and secure water supply to the Southern Downs community, as well as approximately 50 farming customers who have opted to purchase water for commercial use.

It has been wonderful to see some record-breaking rainfall over the past month, and the reassuring data that has been captured by the Project’s rain gauges. Installed in March, the gauges have demonstrated that based on the dam’s storage of 12,000ML, the dam would have filled 8.7 times, which is effectively 27 years’ worth of water if the entire annual water allocation 3,900ML was used.

We recently announced a ‘pause’, as part of the Go/Stop/Pause decision point, which is a milestone deliberately built into the Project’s timeline given its size and complexity. Now the design and construct tenders are closed, the pause allows us to work closely with both the Australian and Queensland governments to assess the options presented.

We are delighted 96 per cent of the land required to progress development of Emu Swamp Dam and its distribution network has been secured. A dedicated GBIP lands team has been appointed to work with and support affected landholders, to ensure successful negotiation of productive outcomes.
Negotiations continue with a small number of participating landholders, however we have undertaken and finalised commercial negotiations with most impacted landholders and their legal representatives.

The land being procured will either be used for the dam inundation area, as a water quality buffer zone, or as environmental offsets. Land used for environmental offset will be managed by the Queensland Government and will create new, or recovered, habitat connectivity from land surrounding the dam and pipeline sites, resulting in a net gain in the flora and fauna habitat in the area.

The Project will also offer facilities beyond providing critical additional water storage capacity for the community. As an example, restoring the community funded bikeway and Stalling Lane access has always been in the Project’s scope as has the inclusion of solar power to move/pump water.
We continue to work closely with our key stakeholders, the Australian and Queensland governments, and meet regularly with the Southern Downs Regional Council.

On behalf of the Project, I would like to acknowledge the patience and understanding of landholders who recognise the complexities of a significant infrastructure project like this, especially as delivery moves closer.

The local area’s water security, drought resistance and climate adaption remain at the heart of this Project, and we will always be as transparent as possible with the Southern Downs community, while we deliver this important work.

From all of us at Granite Belt Water, we wish everyone across the region a happy and safe holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Our Project Office in Maryland Street, Stanthorpe, will be closed from Friday 17 December 2021 and we look forward to returning on Monday 17 January 2022.

We encourage community members to drop in and chat to the Project team for the most accurate and up-to-date information on the progress of this transformational piece of water infrastructure.

Lloyd Taylor
Chief Executive Officer
Granite Belt Water