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Darling Downs irrigators gain water flexibility

10 August, 2015

Darling Downs irrigators will have greater flexibility to purchase water licences and boost their businesses under changes made by the Queensland Government.

After meeting with Cotton Australia and Darling Downs irrigators, Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham said government had responded to landholders' requests and created new rules for groundwater systems in the region.

"New rules for the Dalrymple Creek Alluvium, about 50km south of Toowoomba, and the Oakey Creek Alluvium, about 30km north-west of Toowoomba, now allow water to be transferred to a different land owner within the same alluvium," Lynham said.

"This means landholders can purchase water from a current water entitlement holder who may be looking to restructure their business.

"The changes complement the existing water sharing rules which include the ability to carry over a previous year's water allocation.

"The ability to relocate a water licence provides irrigators with greater flexibility and more options to manage their water entitlements. "

In the Oakey Creek Alluvium, the owners of 85 water licences can now sell up to 9,283 megalitres per annum of groundwater to other land holders within this area

In the Dalrymple Creek Alluvium. the owners of 105 water licences can now sell up to 9,049 megalitres per annum of groundwater within this area.

Lynham said the changes were implemented on the 1st July 2015 in response to strong interest from water entitlement holders.

"Landholders with existing water entitlements have made it clear that they wanted greater flexibility in the way they manage their irrigation, intensive livestock and other business enterprises," Lynham said.

"Since water licence relocation was introduced in the Central Condamine Alluvium in 2013 there have been 19 individual trades, demonstrating a clear interest in this water management option.

"Existing licence holders will have greater security with the new rules ensuring that even as water entitlements are able to be moved around, drawdown impacts on existing bores will be kept to a minimum.

"These changes also support better management of the Murray-Darling Basin, particularly the Upper Condamine Alluvium groundwater system where there are too many water entitlements.

"The Commonwealth Department of Environment will now be able to buy back some of those water entitlements under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan."


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