Is the Granite Belt Irrigation Project really happening?2021-05-18T04:45:24+00:00

We are now in the pre-construction phase. During this period we are undertaking the detailed planning, tendering, and budgeting needed to make a formal decision to proceed with the project. We expect this decision will be made by the third quarter, 2021. We need to work through this detailed planning to be able to make a responsible decision to proceed – but with committed funding, government endorsement and strong community support, — yes, we really are confident that this project is coming.

What will be done with land procured for environmental ‘offsets’?2021-05-18T04:47:15+00:00

The land procured for environmental offset is necessary to create new, or recover, habitat from land surrounding the dam and pipeline sites, resulting in a net gain in habitat to the area. In conjunction with the Australian and State Governments, the Project will ensure these offsets are managed to guarantee meaningful restoration and rehabilitation of the habitat and that the development of Emu Swamp Dam is done in an environmentally sustainable way.

Has the pipeline route been changed?2021-05-18T04:52:01+00:00

Yes, the pipeline route has been adjusted. The landholders whose property will no longer be affected, following the adjustment, have been contacted. The Project is in the process of notifying any additional landholders who may be impacted. If you have any concerns, please contact the Project. We would like to thank the landholders who have been cooperative during this planning phase, as we work to bring the community this transformational infrastructure development.

How many jobs will the GBIP create?2021-05-18T04:47:53+00:00

Infrastructure consultants, Jacobs Engineering Group, completed a detailed business case assessment on the Emu Swamp Dam project which determined GBIP will create 250 full-time jobs during its construction. This business case also assessed that the dam, when completed, will contribute to increasing the annual value of the region’s gross farm production by $68 million a year and will create 700 new full-time jobs in the region. Of these jobs, 282 will be directly in agriculture and 418 in support services. These types of jobs already exist in the region, which means new employees will slot into the existing fabric of our community.

What is the Stop/Go/Pause point?2021-05-18T04:48:15+00:00

The Stop/Go/Pause Point is a decision and risk mechanism built into the conditional funding offer from the Queensland Government. It is a common milestone in infrastructure projects. It gives the Australian and Queensland Governments, along with the members of the project, a clear process in which to evaluate and ensure everything is on track for the project to continue and commence construction.

Will a pipeline be built from Emu Swamp Dam to Storm King Dam?2021-05-18T04:48:27+00:00

A pipeline will not be built between the two dams. The proposed pipeline will pass near Stanthorpe and the existing Southern Downs Regional Council pipeline network. We will be working with SDRC to determine the most appropriate place that, if necessary, the two infrastructures can be linked to provide water to Stanthorpe.

Will the Project be able to source enough clay?2021-05-18T04:48:41+00:00

The Project has completed an extensive investigation of potential clay sources for construction. A clay source has been identified only 50km from the Project site. The requirements for clay will be determined by the construction methodology and final dam design.

Is $84 million enough to build the dam and irrigation network?2021-05-18T04:49:02+00:00

The cost of the scheme is constantly being reviewed. Based on the preliminary designs and the allowances made in the Detailed Business Case, the Project remains confident it will be able to be delivered within the $84 million budget. At the end of the tendering process, the Project and the Government will no longer be in doubt as to the cost of building the dam.

How will the GBIP benefit the greater Granite Belt Community?2021-05-18T04:49:19+00:00

GBIP will enhance community wellbeing by significantly contributing to the prosperity of communities and businesses of all types in the region. Besides the economic benefits during construction and the long-term boost to agricultural production in the region, it will also create a new 220ha lake, 15km from Stanthorpe, which will have facilities to benefit locals and add to the tourism offering of the region.

Why build a second dam?2021-05-18T04:51:22+00:00

Once operational, Emu Swamp Dam (ESD) will hold 12,000ML, while Storm King Dam (SKD) holds 2,000ML, at full capacity. ESD has a significantly larger catchment area than SKD, meaning it will require less rain events to fill, due to its size, and will hold water for longer. The catchment for ESD will not affect the SKD catchment, while ESD will significantly bolster water security for the region.


What is the Project?2021-05-20T00:35:49+00:00

The Granite Belt Irrigation Project (Project) is a project of national significance declared a ‘coordinated project’ by the Coordinator-General, involving the development of a new water storage (dam) and distribution facility (pipeline and pump stations) located approximately 15km south-west of Stanthorpe, including the area known as Emu Swamp along the Severn River, Queensland.

The Project will provide economic, social and environmental benefits to the Granite Belt region, community and future generations, including:

  • up to 35% increase in regional water supply;
  • An additional 1740ML of storage and 580ML/annum of urban water for Stanthorpe;
  • delivery of 3,320 ML of water per year at 90% reliability to approximately 51 irrigator members of the irrigation scheme (Scheme);
  • 273Ha of new irrigated high value agricultural land;
  • $68 million increase in annual gross agricultural production;
  • ensuring water and food security of the existing $200 to $300 million market in the Granite Belt;
  • input of development to the region, creating 700 new permanent jobs (and 250 jobs during construction);
  • 550Ha of public land dedicated to the environment and recreation with eco-tourism potential.
Who is Granite Belt Water Limited?2021-05-20T00:35:28+00:00

Granite Belt Water Limited (GBWL) is a public company limited by guarantee registered under the Corporations Act (Cth) responsible for the development and operation of the Project.

All the Project’s infrastructure will be the property of GBWL. As a public company limited by guarantee, GBWL must only use profits to further the objects that are set out in its constitution and is unable to pay a dividend to its members or make a distribution to its members on winding-up. For these reasons, a public company limited by guarantee has, in certain respects, the qualities of a ‘not for profit’ organisation.

What are the details of the Project?2021-05-20T00:35:02+00:00

The Project involves the construction of a 12,074 ML dam, three pump stations and approximately 126.5km of pipeline throughout the Granite Belt region.

Specifics of the Project:

  • The Emu Swamp Dam will provide a 12,074ML in stream storage which will provide an annual supply of 3,900ML of water at 90% reliability.
  • The dam wall will be approximately 24m high and the inundation area, at full supply will cover 223 Ha.
  • The Emu Swamp Dam catchment is 586km2 compared to Storm King Dam which is 92km2.
  • From the dam to the pump station on Fletcher Road, the pipe will consist of a 560mm HDPE pipeline.
  • From the Fletcher Road pump station, along the New England Highway to the Applethorpe School will be a 450mm steel pipe.
  • The rest of pipeline network will consist of varying pipe sizes from 500mm poly pipe down to a 110mm poly pipe out to the extremities of the pipeline (i.e. the size of the pipeline will decrease as it travels away from the dam).
  • Where possible, the pipeline will be installed with a minimum cover of 600mm.
  • There is a working pipeline corridor width of approximately 20m, which includes the area for the pipe, work area and spoil storage during construction. This corridor will be rehabilitated following completion of construction in consultation with the landholder.
  • Due to geological constraints, there may be parts of the pipeline located above ground. Where the pipeline is to be located above ground, this will be achieved through consultation with the relevant landholders to ensure as minimal impact to land as possible.
  • Depending on weather and ground conditions, approximately 50m to 400m of pipeline is intended to be constructed a day.
What other infrastructure is required for the Project?2021-05-20T00:34:49+00:00

The Project infrastructure, includes:

  • associated power sources – required to ensure the dam and pipeline have the requisite amount of power to operate;
  • air valves – required to let air in and out of the pipe, preventing it from over-pressurising and collapsing. Air valves are generally located at high points of the pipeline to release air in the line, or immediately either side of a steep decline (such as a creek crossing). Air valves will be contained in a concrete box with a lid approximately 1m2 in size, similar to a stock trough;

Figure 1 An air valve and surround

  • scour valves – required to dewater the pipeline and are located at lower sections of the pipeline next to drainage features. The valve is located below ground with a discharge over rip rap to minimise land impact.

Figure 2: Example of a scour arrangement

  • farm connection (outlet) point – located on irrigator properties, these are an insulated box which will vary with the size of the connection point. They house the valve train containing flow meters, isolation valves, air valves, filter boxes and strainer assemblies.

Figure 3:An example of a farm connection point (open)

Figure 4: A closed farm connection point

  • Solar arrays – the Project proposes to augment the power requirements for the pump stations using solar arrays for the dam pump station and the Fletcher Road pump station.
  • Header tanks – to ensure efficient pumping, the header tanks will be located at the high points on the main lines. These provide a static point for the pumps to work to and ensure that the pumps are as efficient as they can be and are not “hunting” for a steady pumping solution.
What is the anticipated timing of the Project?2021-05-20T00:34:39+00:00

Construction of the Project is expected to be carried out from late 2021 until approximately October 2024.

Before construction can commence the following matters are required to be undertaken/achieved, in no particular order:

  • designation of infrastructure by the Minister under the Planning Act 2016 (Qld) for the Project, which will be publicly advertised with relevant landholders notified. If the pipeline is proposed to be located on or land adjoining your property, a development notice may be required to be affixed to your property;
  • tendering of the design and construction contract for the Project – once tendering is complete, it is expected the design phase will commence in approximately the last half of 2021 signaling the start of the construction phase of the Project;
  • Surveying of the pipeline alignment for levels and finalisation of the design by the successful pipeline contractor. This will determine the exact locations of infrastructure;
  • Pipeline installation is not expected to be linear in nature with commencement of works varying throughout the district depending on vegetation clearing, rock pre-breaking, road and creek under boring, access timings and finalising various works approvals;
  • All necessary permits and approvals required for the construction of the Project, including planning approvals, referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) approvals under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld) and compliance with statutory requirements under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Qld).
What if I do not want infrastructure on my land?2021-05-20T00:34:16+00:00

Wherever possible the Project is intending to install infrastructure within the existing road reserve. There are however circumstances where there is not sufficient land available within the road reserve, the road reserve is incorrectly fenced or the road reserves GBWL is intending to use are unformed. In such circumstances, the pipeline will be located on private land.

Whilst GBWL anticipates being able to reach an agreement with landholders, where these negotiations break down and/or become protracted and the infrastructure proposed to be located on your land is considered necessary, GBWL will liaise with the State government regarding the compulsory acquisition process.

How much land is needed for the pipeline corridor?2021-05-20T00:33:56+00:00

The Project will require a working corridor width of approximately 20m, which includes the area for the pipe and a work area and spoil storage area during construction. The pipeline corridor will be rehabilitated following completion of construction.

For the most part and where possible, the pipeline will be located in road reserves or along fence lines.

However, where not possible, a 6m easement will be sought for the pipeline corridor on any private freehold land, which will be registered on the title (GBWL to pay the costs of registration), to provide access to the pipeline for maintenance purposes.

Larger easements will be required for pressure reduction valves, pump stations and tanks. These will normally include a right of way access, sufficient room to park a vehicle and the footprint of the infrastructure.

Ultimately, the amount of land required will be determined in consultation with the landholder with the aim of keeping any impact to an absolute minimum.

How will access be managed, and what happens if something goes wrong?2021-05-20T00:33:42+00:00

The Project and the Contractor will ensure that there is appropriate insurance coverage for the works to be undertaken. This includes public liability, construction works and workers compensation insurances.

Access to private property will be documented by the Contractor through a Landholder Access Agreement prior to works. This will ensure any access requirements such as biosecurity or crop timing is managed.

Contractors will have a daily pre-start meeting and have protocols for signing into site to manage who is on site.

The Project will confirm to any property specific inductions that may be required.

How will the land be acquired?2021-05-20T00:33:28+00:00

GBWL seeks to achieve a mutually agreed outcome with all landholders. To maintain a consistent and fair approach, GBWL is proposing a standard easement agreement (with minor amendments through an Annexure).

GBWL is progressing with easement agreements based on the importance of the Project to the community and the significant support that exists in the region for the Project to move ahead.

Will I be compensated if the pipeline is on my land?2021-05-20T00:33:02+00:00

GBWL intend to use a standard approach to the valuation of the easement and registration against title.

Prior to any works, the Contractor will sit with each landholder to work through access requirements, works timing, landholder conditions, restoration, the location of any known infrastructure and the location of infrastructure. This will be documented in a Landholder Access Agreement which the Contractor (and Project) will use to confirm works have been completed in accordance with landholder expectations.

Following the installation of the pipeline and associated infrastructure, GBWL is committed to leaving the land in the same condition as found or better . There may be circumstances however were this is not possible and, as such, GBWL will work with landholders to agree on compensation (if required) having regard to the need to deliver this vital community infrastructure for the region’s benefit as against the impacts on individual property owners.

In this respect, GBWL will assess each claim on its own merits having regard to supporting valuations and other relevant material.

As the Project has not yet commenced the construction phase (disturbance), the actual extent of the land required for the pipeline works is unknown and it would be inappropriate to commence negotiations relating to construction impact until that (and any resulting impacts) are known.

When will I get paid?2021-05-20T00:32:47+00:00

The Project is required to satisfy government requirements for the Project to proceed to construction and access the construction funding.

Once the Project has been given the ‘go ahead’ to proceed, the impacts under the easement will be capable of being realised. Following this, any agreement regarding the payment of compensation may be facilitated through a Compensation Deed with GBWL.

The deed will reflect a full and final claim for compensation.

Will GBWL pay for my lawyer?2021-05-20T00:31:58+00:00

Where appropriate, GBWL will assist with the payment of reasonable and necessary legal fees. However, to avoid any dispute, the prior agreement of GBWL to reimburse such costs should be obtained ahead of any work.

Will GBWL pay for my valuer?2021-05-20T00:31:38+00:00

Where appropriate, GBWL will assist with the payment of obtaining an independent valuation. However, to avoid any dispute, the prior agreement of GBWL to reimburse such costs should be obtained ahead of any work.

What will the access be like once the pipeline is constructed?2021-05-04T04:28:25+00:00

Will GBWL need to access the land once the pipeline is constructed?

Once construction is completed, it is expected there will be a minimal need for access to the corridor other than for annual maintenance checks on above ground infrastructure, such as air valves.

Where more complex infrastructure (e.g. pump station or connection points) are located on a property, access will be required more frequently, depending on the nature of the infrastructure.

Once the pipeline has been constructed, are we able to access the land above the pipeline?

In agricultural areas, the top of the pipe is to be buried to a depth of at least 600mm to ensure the pipe does not interfere with standard agricultural activities.

Once construction has completed, the pipeline will be marked with posts and locator tape. Except for pump stations, it is not proposed to be fenced or excluded from ongoing landholder use.

General crossing of the pipeline corridor will not be impacted. However, access to the pipeline corridor area for farm activities, such as deep ripping, will be restricted to the extent the activities occur at a depth where they would impact the pipe (with the pipe and any other underground infrastructure being located prior to any works).

Can I access water from the pipeline for my property (house, livestock, crop/irrigation)?

The water available from the Project has already been bought by eligible purchasers.

Unless you have already purchased water as an eligible purchaser or are trading water from someone who has purchased water, you will not be able to access water. However, a requirement of the National Water Initiative is that water must be tradable. To this end, landholders will be offered an opportunity to pay for a connection to the scheme which enable them to trade with water entitlement holders downstream of their property.

Whilst Scheme participants will be able to trade with other parties, should you wish to participate and trade in the Scheme, all costs of connection will be borne by you.

Catchment Comparison 

Emu Swamp Dam (ESD) has a significantly larger catchment area than Storm King Dam (SKD), meaning it will require less rain events to fill, due to its size, and will hold water longer.
SKD – 92 Km2
ESD – 586 Km2
Full Storage Capacity:
SKD – 2,000 ML

ESD – 12,000 ML

Proposed Emu Swamp Dam and King Storm Dam Catchment Comparison


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