The current concept is to build a rockfill embankment with clay core adjacent to the Flinders River on Saego station and make use of the natural topography of surrounding basalt plateau to create a suitable “off-stream” water storage facility in the order of 200,000 mega litres (ML).

Water from the Flinders River will be gravity diverted at Alderley Crossing via an earthen channel into the proposed “off-stream” water storage facility. Catchments flowing into Stewart, Jones Valley and Back Valley Creeks will flow directly into this “off-stream” water storage facility. Required environmental flows in Flinders River will be maintained. When the “off-stream” water storage facility is full, water within the Flinders River will continue directly down the Flinders River. Being in the upper reaches of the Flinders catchment limits the amount of water taken to 1.8% of the Flinders catchment.

This “off-stream” water storage facility will enable 84,000 ML/year yield with 80% reliability to support an irrigation area of up to 10,000 ha of diversified crops, over the extensive grasslands on the southern side of Flinders River.

The objective of the current phase of the project is to produce a Preliminary Business Case (PBC) which addresses the economic viability of the best scheme for the Hughenden region, including all the regulatory approvals, economic and social indicators. This PBC, which will be aligned with Building Queensland methodologies, will be submitted to Federal Government in February 2020. The PBC will detail the options investigated and will outline, at concept level, the most suitable option. The PBC will recommend that a Detailed Business Case (DBC) be undertaken, commencing in mid-2020. Funding from the original allocation of up to $182 million will be required for the completion of the DBC. This DBC may be a stage in an overall program, based on a proof of performance concept and avoid the risk of stranded capital. This staged approach also allows linkages with other initiatives in the other regional projects currently under investigation.

To hear more about this project, listen to Jeff Reid on ABC radio

Hughenden Irrigation Project Site Plan

Hughenden Irrigation Project Site Plan Hughenden Irrigation Project Site Plan