Craig Warhurst

‘Ghost' water in new plan

THE spectre of the Traveston Crossing dam still hangs over the Mary Valley, despite a new draft water resource plan which claims to recognise the area's natural beauty, farming, fishing and tourism values.

The draft plan, advertised in yesterday's issue of The Gympie Times, will not apply to the 150,000 megalitre strategic reserve associated with the dam proposal and its closely linked Northern Interconnector Pipeline.

However, a State Government spokesperson said the plan would protect “the entitlements of existing water users and the water needs of the environment”.

An explanatory leaflet, released by the natural resources arm of the Department of Environment and Resource Management, says the plan aims to allow the trading or movement of water allocations, so that new enterprises can buy water rights off discontinued business operations.

“Water allocations will be grouped into zones that will determine the nature and extent of any changes that may be permitted,” the leaflet says.

“Water allocations will be allowed to move freely within their zone of origin (and proposes) rules that will permit some inter-zonal trading.”

The department's acting deputy director-general Greg Claydon says the Mary basin “is well recognised for the beauty of its natural environment.

“It is also home to thriving agricultural, horticultural, fishing and tourism industries and expanding urban areas. It is important to note the draft plan does not provide a process for the release of any of the 150,00 megalitre strategic reserve identified in the Water Resource (Mary Basin) Plan 2006,” Mr Claydon says in the leaflet's introductory message.

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