Local management arrangements for irrigation channel schemes

For more than two decades irrigators and the Queensland government have discussed opportunities for water users to own and manage the channels, pumps and pipelines used to deliver the water they use.

In 2016 the State Government facilitated a move to local management of irrigation infrastructure in eight Queensland distribution systems by establishing companies and boards to represent the interests of scheme customers and further investigate the option.

Transition companies and boards were set up to negotiate terms of a possible transfer in Emerald, Eton, St George and Theodore, after irrigators demonstrated a strong commitment to the concept of local management, and government determined that, based on business proposals submitted by irrigator representatives in 2014, that each could be financially viable under local management.

In addition, investigation boards were formed in Bundaberg, the Burdekin-Haughton, Mareeba-Dimbulah and the Lower Mary, to further examine local management and prepare updated business proposals for their distribution systems. As a result of investigations the schemes opted not to proceed to local management at this time. The schemes continue to be owned and managed by SunWater.

Majority support for the move to local management from water users within the scheme was achieved in Emerald, Eton, St George and Theodore and the schemes were transferred to irrigator-owned entities, with the final transfer to be finalised in March 2020.

This site provided the latest news, outlined the steps to local management and connects water users with their local board representatives and the project team set up to support the process.

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