Queensland farmers have embarked on an ambitious project to pipe water from the underutilized Burdekin Falls Dam to the Bowen-Gumlu horticulture district. A detailed business study for the 93-kilometer pipeline has been funded with $5 million in federal government money for a detailed case to be completed by mid-2023.
The Bowen-Gumlu region is Australia's major winter horticulture region and grows $500 million in produce annually, a figure proponents say could nearly double to $900 million with 100,000 megaliters of piped water added.
Despite a failed 2009 Sunwater proposal and other schemes dating back to 1983, Gumlu farmer Laurie Land said this latest attempt has the best shot at success. "It's privately-funded, that's the way it's going to go, and it's got a better chance of getting off the ground this time," he said. "Water's worth more than land. You can't grow much without water."