Cherrabah water submissions closed

SUBMISSIONS for the controversial water application at Cherrabah Resort are now closed with both objectors and the applicants facing an anxious wait to find out whether more or less water will be permitted.

Earlier in the year Cherrabah resort was granted a license for 500 megalitres of water over the next 10 years.

Surrounding landholders were enraged by the decision and after a heated meeting with the Department of Resource Management (DERM), submitted Right to Information requests to support their objections.

However, they were shocked to find out the resort owners were also objecting to the decision, because they want 200 megalitres per year.

DERM Regional Services Director (South West) Mike Birchley said applications for the review closed on September 30 and the department would consider all relevant information.

A decision on the review is expected by the end of the month.

The water is sourced from the Stanthorpe Adamellites, which are, according to the hydrologist, separate and deeper to the source that surrounding properties primarily draw from.

Extensive drilling was carried out before the decision was made and stringent monitoring conditions have been attached to the outcome.

In its decision, DERM said there was not enough evidence to support the initial application, which was to extend the licence to 200 megalitres a year and so it granted an average of 50 megalitres a year over 10 years.

One sticking point, however, was its decision to allow the licensee 127 megalitres in a drought year.

This baffled local landholders who are used to their water allocations being cut, not increased, in dry spells.

In February 2008, Southern Downs Regional Council pre-approved an application, subject to conditions, from Joyful View Garden Real Estate Development Resort Co P/L for development of the area as a tourist facility for up to 4000 guests.

If the water does dry up, there are fears council will be left to foot the bill of piping town water.

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