Peter French.
Peter French. Contributed

Water managed locally

WITH the strong support of local irrigators, Theodore Water took over the ownership and management of the local distribution scheme from SunWater.

According to Theodore Water, the transition to local management will give the region's irrigators a greater say in scheme operations, asset renewal and refurbishment plans, increase their influence over the distribution price of irrigation water and deliver improvements in reporting, transparency and accountability.

Theodore Water vice-chairman and local irrigator Peter French said Theodore Water would ensure that the system was specifically tailored to the needs and requirements of channel irrigators and take a flexible, innovative and consultative approach to operating the business.

"As channel irrigators, there are some key factors that affect our businesses such as the distribution price of our irrigation water and the efficient, timely delivery of water at critical stages of a crop's growth,” Mr French said.

"Both are largely dictated by the efficiency of the irrigation scheme and can have a significant impact on profitability so it's critical to get this right.

"Theodore Water is committed to delivering the best outcomes on irrigation water distribution and service and in the process, helping support the regional economy, local employment and contributing to the Theodore community.”

Queensland Farmers Federation President Stuart Armitage welcomed the transition as the final step towards empowering the Theodore community to manage and grow irrigated agriculture in the region.

"The Local Management Arrangement has benefits for both irrigators and the local community by giving them a greater say in scheme operations and the distribution price of irrigation water while improving transparency and accountability,” Mr Armitage said.

"Local irrigators now have direct responsibility and control of key water infrastructure comprising of 46 kilometres of pipelines and channels, and distribution to 44 customers irrigating 3,000 hectares of land.”

Local management has attracted overwhelming support amongst local irrigators with scheme customers representing more than 95 per cent of the scheme's water supply voting to become shareholders in Theodore Water during a customer offer earlier this year.

Theodore is the second of Queensland's irrigation schemes to transition to local management, following St George's move from SunWater to Mallawa Irrigation in July.

Theodore Water will be overseen by locally-based general manager Geoff Beard and day-to-day operations will be conducted by the former SunWater Theodore staff members who have transferred to Theodore Water.

For more information on Theodore Water, visit theodorewater.com.au


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