LOCKYER Valley farmers say a new pipeline will significantly improve the reliability of the region's vegetable production, resulting in new markets and increased employment.
The long awaited $200 million pipeline project, which would draw water from Wivenhoe Dam, has already produced a business case showing $304.5 million a year in economic benefits and 2600 long term jobs.
Lockyer Water Users Forum chief executive officer Gordon Van der Est said although Wivenhoe was already fully allocated, there was other water available.
"This would either be treated recycled water or water produced in a desalination plant and shifted using the SEQ Water Grid," Mr Van der Est said.
"The 34,000 megalitres that the farmers require would then be stored in the valley's currently underutilised water assets: Lake Clarenden, Atkinsons Dam and Lake Dyer.
"From those interconnected storages water would be supplied to about 250 individual farms dramatically increasing the reliability and efficiency of those farms."
Enjoying strong support from both the Lockyer and Somerset regional councils and both the state and federal governments, the project is seen as the key to driving farm efficiency and job creation in a region with some of the world's most fertile soils.
Mitch Brimblecombe, a young farmer from Forest Hill, said a reliable supply of water would be a big boost to his business.
"At the moment I just can't plan far enough ahead because of an unreliable water supply," Mr Brimblecombe said.
"We have terrific soils and a wonderful growing environment, even if we do have the occasional disruption by flooding.
"A reliable supply of water would make our operations much smoother and give us new opportunities."
Grower and packer Troy Qualifchefski, Qualipac, said reliable production was the key to building a reliable workforce.
"Most of these crops have to be hand picked and that means having plenty of labour available," Mr Qualifchefski said.
"The more reliable these farms become, the more consistent the work is that farmers are able to offer."
Member for Wright, Scott Buchholz, said the federal government had already committed $75 million to the project.
"The Lockyer Valley pipeline is a winner on every front and that's why we're right behind it," Mr Buchholz said.
"Farmers have the opportunity to really ramp up vegetable production and their businesses, develop new markets including export markets, and the scale of job creation that involves is just incredible.
"Everyone wins with a pipeline to the Lockyer Valley."
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