DECISION TIME: Mayor Tracy Dobie has requested a meeting with the Granite Belt Irrigation Project team.
DECISION TIME: Mayor Tracy Dobie has requested a meeting with the Granite Belt Irrigation Project team. Marian Faa

Emu Swamp Dam needs SDRC approval to deliver jobs, water

TALKS are under way between the Granite Belt Irrigation Project and the Southern Downs Regional Council to determine the future of Emu Swamp Dam.

The dam received final funding approval from the Queensland Government earlier this month but still faces one significant hurdle: Water allocations.

For the project to become viable and deliver on its promise of 950 new jobs and $67.9 million in gross farm production it must get approval from SDRC to lease 1500 megalitres of water.

This state water allocation is not currently being used, but it is allocated to future urban consumption and arguably necessary for town water in the event of population growth.

In a letter to Mayor Tracy Dobie, GBIP chairman Dan Hunt formally requested for SDRC to agree to lease the water.

Mr Hunt wrote that the council's agreement was key to formalising and developing the proposed infrastructure.

The GBIP also asked how SDRC wishes to be involved with Emu Swamp Dam after its completion, offering three options.

The first option is for SDRC to only be able to access dam water in the event of an emergency.

This would not require any funding contributions from the SDRC but it would incur water usage costs if the situation arises.

The second option is for SDRC to formally invest in the dam as a customer and use their allocation for the benefit of the Southern Downs community.

The third was to simply not participate.

The decision making process is under way and Cr Dobie has requested a meeting with GBIP to discuss the issue further.

An official response is needed by September 20 for the project to proceed.