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4 April, 2022

Community invited to Lakeland irrigation meeting

An update on the Lakeland Irrigation Area Scheme will be given at the meeting.

CAPE York residents are invited to next week’s quarterly Lakeland Irrigation Area Scheme community meeting for an update on the proposed dam that will more than triple Lakeland’s irrigated area and provide water security for landholders.

Regional Development Australia Tropical North chair David Kempton and project manager Brendan Short from SMEC will discuss the latest developments and answer questions.

Mr Kempton said the project would give the Lakeland community access to an affordable and reliable water supply and underpin jobs and growth in Cape York.

“This will enable the expansion of agricultural activities, the potential to grow higher value and more diverse crops, and provide the security landholders need to invest in their businesses for the long-term,” he said.

“The project will enable substantial expansion of agriculture and horticulture from Lakeland, supporting food security for our nation.”

“We are currently working on a detailed business case to be presented to the federal government in September to enable a focused funding package to be developed.”

Mr Short said a great deal of progress had taken place since the last community meeting in September, with the reference design phase now complete.

“We will discuss the type of dam to be built, the preferred tunnel transfer option, and the configuration of the irrigation supply network,” he said.

“Landholders will also gain an understanding of the factors driving water pricing and the key economic and environmental elements being addressed in the business case.”

The Lakeland Irrigation Area Scheme proposes a 205,000ML dam on the Palmer River.

The water would be gravity fed to Lakeland through a 12km tunnel. Of the 8000 ha of identified freehold agricultural area in Lakeland, only 1370 ha is under irrigation.

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