The release of water in Cloncurry Shire could come soon for graziers applying for unallocated water from Cloncurry River from August 28.
Community consultation workshops on the release of unallocated water were announced for the Gulf, Gilbert, and Cloncurry areas just a week ago.
At an ill-attended forum on Friday August 4, the manager of Water Management and Use, Gary Jensen, from the Department of Natural Resources and Mines admitted the meeting was short notice.
“Our minister announced this several weeks ago so we have been trying to actively make people aware of what is going on,” he said.
Mr Jensen said recent changes to the allocation process has made it easier to move water around catchments, but only 5 per cent of the available water is currently being used.
This will be the third release in this catchment since 2012, when the Department allocated 94,220 ML (megalitres) of water to projects, followed by 100,000ML in 2015.
In 2017 there is a proposed total of 92,500ML from Cloncurry and Gilbert Rivers for ‘shovel-ready projects'.
Previously water allocation has been done through a tender process, but the new releases are a test run for ‘products’, being specific allocations of water.
Mr Jensen said the current process of water allocation was still in a trial process, and the department was interested in gauging interest in specific products.
“This is really a test run from a product perspective, so it’s trying to facilitate some of those smaller, shovel-ready projects that might be floating around – if any,” he said.
Products from the next allocation include Zone 11 Cloncurry River: 15 lots of 1500ML, with a maximum daily limit of up to 6 per cent of the annual volume.
“It’s really looking at those on the ground, shovel-ready type projects,” Mr Jensen said.
Payment options included a one-off upfront payment or an annualised payment plan.
Certain criteria must be met, including vegetation evaluation criteria.
The applicant needs to demonstrate unregulated vegetation, and lodge the relevant purpose application.
For more information on vegetation evaluation criteria, email Lisa Gale in Vegetation Management at NthVegetationEnquiries@dnrm.qld.gov.au
See the Department of Natural Resources and Mines for more information on the application process, starting August 28.