Call for a change to allocations

FARMERS have again signalled for a review of the water allocation process as they prepare to face another dry summer with limited access to Paradise Dam.

The NewsMail contacted SunFarm requesting figures on current water allocation for the region’s farms, but SunFarm was unable to respond before the NewsMail going to press.

However, it is understood that 50 per cent has been allocated to the south side of the Burnett River, slightly higher than the 40 per cent assigned earlier this year.

“We’re getting slugged 100 per cent fees but only getting a 50 per cent allocation,” Elliott Heads farmer Dean Akers said.

“It’s not common sense. The rule book isn’t reading right and it needs a change,”

The sweet potato grower acknowledged his farm would struggle with the current allocation level and, like all farmers, has his fingers crossed for rain.

Austchilli director and Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers chairman Dave Depaoli said he lived in hope of receiving more rain.

“Unless we get some pretty soon our allocation won’t really be enough,” he said.

“I know lots of vegetable growers who have bought extra water knowing they will need every drop.”

Austchilli is in partnership with the Queensland Government’s ecoBiz initiative, which helps businesses identify efficiencies in waste, water and energy.

Growers like Mr Akers and Canegrowers Isis chairman Joe Russo believe the massive inflows into Paradise Dam warrant an allocation rise.

“It’s very frustrating ... but if it wasn’t for us voicing a need for a higher allocation we would have been in a real pickle,” Mr Russo said.

“It’s up for review soon, but as it stands today water allocation is a real nightmare and in the short term it’s unsubstantial for what we need.”

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