A detailed business case says a major irrigation project in Hughenden is viable.
The business case released by the Hughenden Irrigation Project, better known as HIPCo, shows the project can be successful and it has been submitted to the state government for assessment.
HIPCo was established to assess if a Water Infrastructure Project near Hughenden would be financially viable to create economic opportunity opportunity for the region.
Proponents say the answer to that question is a resounding yes.
"After 15 months of intensive investigations, analysis, design and stakeholder engagement, HIPCo has completed and submitted the finalised Hughenden Irrigation Project Detailed Business Case to the Queensland State Government," the proponents said.
"This is a huge step for this important community project."
The Project plans to construct a dam on Saego Station, 43km west of Hughenden holding 160,000 ML -around a third of the volume of water in Sydney Harbour.
The water will be captured directly from the Stewart and Jones Valley Creeks and indirectly by a diversion weir on the Flinders River at Alderley Crossing with a diversion channel that will also capture flows from Back Valley Creek.
The dam wall will be 7650 meters long and 20.5 meters high at the dam's deepest point. When full the water will inundate 3676 hectares.
This will allow the transformation of an initial 11,000 hectares of underused high-quality soils on the south side of the Flinders River to become a thriving irrigated agricultural hub to support thousands of new jobs and transform the economy and society of the region.
HIPCo said they expected that by end of the next decade the irrigation precinct will grow to more than 20,000 hectares and major research studies they conducted for the detailed business case forecast the population of Hughenden would double during the 2-3 year project construction period.
They said once agricultural crops are established over an estimated eight-year period, there would be a sustained growth in population, forecast to be around double the current level. Similar projects at Emerald and St George have resulted in these towns becoming economic growth hubs for their regions.
HIPCo has now submitted a request for Watercourse Determinations and is working on the tender application submission after the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water announced a Tender for Unallocated Water being released within the Flinders River Catchment late last year.
HIPCo is also undertaking substantial environmental and geotechnical studies.
They have conducted soil testing, along with bore hole drilling with agronomists testing soils matched to crop type, water use and farm yields.
HIPCo said they were talking to state and federal governments, with the intent to progress to a "shovel ready" state by late 2024.
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