Creating a prosperous, sustainable and healthy Northern Australia

Making Water Work program: Visionary land use planning to facilitate development precincts

Making Water Work program: Visionary land use planning to facilitate development precincts
  • Reference # A.7.2122007
  • Timeframe 1 year
  • Project Status Current
  • Location Rockhampton
  • Total project value $270,000.00
  • Project manager Anthony Curro
  • Research Programs 7. Informing policy development
  • Water: Making Water Work program
  • Agriculture
  • Broadacre cropping
  • Horticulture
  • Strategic policy development
  • Supply chain development
  • Water


This project is one of five sub-projects designed to progress the broader Making Water Work (MWW) business case for the new Rookwood Weir development in Rockhampton, Central Queensland.

The business case represents the Rockhampton region’s wider integrated approach to maximising the economic, social, environmental and cultural value from the new Rookwood Weir development and other available sources of water. The broader MWW agenda will include co-investment from the Queensland Government through its Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and will seek to highlight the:

  • need to deliver high value water security in the region
  • opportunity to unlock significant unmet agriculture export and domestic demands
  • potential to explore many new jobs from new agricultural development, food manufacturing and export of agricultural products and materials
  • existence of important agricultural and pastoral development opportunities in the Rockhampton Regional Council area and the Lower Fitzroy
  • a growing policy and consumer pressure for a more circular and value rich agricultural economy, particularly in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

Specifically the visionary land use project will confirm the extent of landholders interested in water for irrigation in the target South Yamba area, suitable land use, irrigated area, resultant water demand, production value, economic analysis, and community benefits. Structured engagement and a preferred option study approach will be applied to develop an optimised concept design to deliver and irrigation scheme along with preliminary capital and operating costs. The project will also consider the impact on associated infrastructure and supply chains and explore consequent needs.

Expected outcomes

Research undertaken as part of this project will assist the validation of data to support the viability of a local irrigation water supply scheme for South Yaamba to landholders that have suitable land without direct river access.  Initial estimates from Rockhampton Regional Council suggest:

  • The capital investment for an irrigation water supply scheme is approximately between $10M to $40M
  • Capital investment in new irrigated land from 20 landholders which will flow over 3-5 years, 2000 ha at cost range $15K to 20K /ha (broadacre ag) to $ 30K to 40K /ha (intensive ag)
  • Ongoing uptake of water allocations from Rookwood Weir, Eden Bann Weir Fitzroy Barrage and potentially unsupplemented water at approximately 9000 ML/yr
  • Increased production value in the range $ 15M to $20M /yr

The methodology and model developed from this pilot project at South Yaamba is planned to be applied for the success of future irrigation water schemes with similar intent and to provide water security for quality agricultural land, improve value and productivity.