Paradise Dam.
Paradise Dam. The News-Mail

Anger over Paradise Dam proposal

BUNDABERG and Isis growers have accused the State Government of jeopardising one of Queensland's most important food bowls after officials confirmed water from Paradise Dam could be used to supply towns as far south as Gympie.

While the draft Wide Bay Burnett Regional Water Supply Strategy is yet to be released, an official from the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) said it would consider using water from the dam near Biggenden for other areas.

Water may go to Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Gympie.

“Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Gympie currently have secure water supplies, through plans being developed to meet the water needs of the Wide Bay Burnett Region over the next 50 years,” DERM Strategic Water Initiative executive director Greg Claydon said.

“The strategy ... will look at various options to meet future urban demands. The supply available from Paradise Dam is one of the options being considered.”

Last month, growers’ groups joined Bundaberg Regional Council in sending a letter to Premier Anna Bligh asking for assurance the dam would be used to supply only the local region.

But while they wait for a response, some fear it may already be too late.

Canegrowers Isis manager Wayne Stanley said the proposal showed the government had not fully considered the future of local growers.

“If the government was supplying irrigators with nominal allocations (100%), we could hardly argue. But struggling on 50% of announced allocation with dam water for sale demonstrates the scant regard the government has for the irrigators,” he said.

“The government has a clear agenda to take water from any infrastructure and prop up urban growth.” Canegrowers Bundaberg director Allan Dingle said the water should stay in the local area.

“It was lobbied for by growers and this community — we didn’t lobby for it for the water to be given away to Hervey Bay and Maryborough,” he said.

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