Reliable water is one step nearer
EXCITED is how deputy chair of the Stanthorpe Community Reference Panel, Stephen Tancred, felt when he learnt Emu Swamp Dam had found its way onto the Federal Government short list of future dam projects.
The plans for the dam are still awaiting approval and Mr Tancred is aware that despite making this 30-strong short list, it would still be many years before the dam was completed.
"But it is encouraging to know that the dam is on the Federal Government's radar," he said.
"We still have to get approved, get funding and then build the dam, but Stanthorpe is in the mix.
"This puts us one step closer."
A lot of money, studies and numerous public consultation sessions have been needed to pull the plans and the project together.
Mr Tancred said making this short list meant those behind the project were on the right track.
The project, which has been ongoing for close to 20 years, is essential as it would provide Stanthorpe with a secure water supply.
"We have to get another water source for the town," Mr Tancred said.
"Every time we get a big drought the town almost runs out of water.
"All three levels of government have realised that we need a secure supply. We can't squeeze the stone anymore, the only option is to build a dam."
Mr Tancred said the project had reached the current stage with the hard work put in by former Stanthorpe shire mayor and councillors Adrian Finlay, Glen Rogers and Mally McMurtrie.
"Peter Blundell (mayor) and the current council have provided good stewardship of the process, particularly in regards to negotiating with the State Government," he said.
The dam will provide water to those connected to town water and also have an irrigation component.
"The Granite Belt horticultural industry can't grow without a new water supply," Mr Tancred said. "New industry can only grow by sourcing water from an existing industry.
"This can be seen with the five new strawberry farms only being able to be established by using water previously used to grow apples, stone fruit, vegetables or grapes."