Coalstoun Lakes farmers renew calls to “Just Add Water” to area

Coalstoun Lakes Development Group Inc aren't giving up hope to get water to the area


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Coalstoun Lakes farmers Darrin Rackemann and Garry Seabrook visit a dryland crop in the area.

Coalstoun Lakes farmers Darrin Rackemann and Garry Seabrook visit a dryland crop in the area.

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Cropping farmers want to turn "dust bowl" into a food bowl with water source for irrigation.

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COALSTOUN Lakes farmers are again renewing their attempts to fund a feasibility study for the provision of water for the area after another dismal cropping season.

An application by the Coalstoun Lakes Development Group Inc last year in the National Water Infrastructure Development funding was denied but farmers aren’t giving up hope.

With 116,000 megalitres at Paradise Dam, about 30km away, still unutilised the local cropping families are ready to make some noise.

“Just add water” and “Dust bowl to food bowl” signs have been placed along the roadside of the area of rich volcanic soils which is home to peanut and crop farmers.

However with the opportunity for irrigation, horticulture crops and trees such as macadamia and avocado trees could also be sustained. 

Coalstoun Lakes Development Group Inc are now furthering talks after the State Government indicated there may be development opportunities for other applications in the catchment if they “can overlap in any way”. 

Motorisits travelling through Coalstoun Lakes will notice the "Just Add Water" signs.

Motorisits travelling through Coalstoun Lakes will notice the "Just Add Water" signs.

Their campaign to have water pumped into the area was first proposed almost 20 years ago and chairman Garry Seabrook said the group now wanted the public and also a major partner to help them market the idea. 

“We do just need help,” he said.

“We don’t have any access to an irrigation scheme. All we have got is a dam to catch overflow which lately hasn’t had water in a long time and these other areas already have irrigation and they just want more. 

“There are not many areas like this about of such high quality soil. We know what the soil can do if we can get water here at an affordable price.

“We don’t care where it comes from, as long as we have it.”

The potential success of irrigation in the area is evident in a small trial of trickle irrigation which is double the size of a neighbouring dryland crop planted at the same time.

A trial trickle irrigation crop.

A trial trickle irrigation crop.

Farmer Darrin Rackemann said spasmodic rainfall and heatwave temperatures meant they were facing another dire season but there was hope in irrigation opportunities. 

“The fertility of the red soils and the proximity of its ability to be irrigated efficiently with the quality or variance of different crops makes it worthwhile,” he said.

“The moment you mention new land, new water in agricultural circles it’s like bees to a honey pot.”

A trickle irrigated crop beside a non-irrigated crop.

A trickle irrigated crop beside a non-irrigated crop.

Mr Seabrook added that their fight wasn’t only for their current and pending crops but for their children and grandchildren ahead of them.

“If we don’t give this our best shot now this might be our last shot,” he said.

“It won’t be for us, it’s the future generations.”

For more information or to contact the group visit www.facebook.com/CoalstounLakesDevelopmentGroupInc 

The story Coalstoun Lakes farmers renew calls to “Just Add Water” to area first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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