Dam plan means water security for region

The mighty Herbert River.

A BOLD vision to dam the Herbert River would provide long-term water security for the wider region, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

“We live in one of the most fertile areas of Australia so it makes sense that we capitalise on the abundance of rainfall that pours into the Herbert River annually,” he said.

“Long term sustainability seems to be the catchphrase of late but I challenge our governments of the day what that actually means to them. The construction of a dam could be the cornerstone to our region’s sustainability.

“A project like this would provide an abundant water supply necessary for crop diversity in the Herbert River District with farmers reaping the benefits of an irrigation scheme such as this as far north as the Atherton Tablelands.”

Mr Dametto said a dam would also help minimise sediment run off into the Great Barrier Reef, which was largely caused by State-owned land.

“Queensland’s biggest landholder is the State Government, with large parcels of State-owned land bordering the Herbert River. If we want to reduce sediment run-off by building a dam, it’s this land that we need to be focused on, not that of farmers,” he said.

Previous water proposals such as the Tully-Millstream Hydro Electric Scheme and a revised version of the Bradfield Scheme suggest possible dam sites upstream of the confluence of Cameron Creek with the Herbert River, Cameron Creek itself and Keough’s weir upstream from Craig Creek.

A further proposal under the Tablelands Irrigation Project suggests the construction of a 35,000 ML dam on the Herbert River in the Woodleigh area near Ravenshoe.

Mr Dametto said he was happy to “consider all options” for the construction of a potential dam and would be engaging widely with stakeholders in the coming months.

“This is not the first time this proposal has been floated and I am by no means an expert when it comes to dam construction, but I believe in the concept and the immense benefits it would bring to agriculture in North Queensland,” he said.

“A reliable water supply like this would allow for crop diversification and even a source of hydro-electricity that would bolster our existing sources of baseload power.

“We could also help mitigate flooding in the Herbert River District but having a dam up in our catchment area.”

Mr Dametto suggested funding for the dam could be sought from both State and Federal governments or via the $1.3 billion National Water Infrastructure Development Fund, through which the State Government can apply for funding.

“I urge both the State and Federal government to put aside party politics and think about the bigger picture – delivering water security for North Queensland,” he said.

Nick Dametto MP