A plan to cart water to the Gold Coast for commercial sale has Elbow Valley farmers concerned.
A plan to cart water to the Gold Coast for commercial sale has Elbow Valley farmers concerned.

TRUCK OFF: Controversial plan to cart and sell Warwick water

TRUCKLOADS of water could be taken out of the Southern Downs and bottled in a factory on the Gold Coast under a controversial development application that could have detrimental consequences for farmers in the Elbow Valley region.

Concerns over groundwater availability have surfaced with a proposal to extract up to 96 megalitres of water each year from aquifers beneath Cherrabah Resort.

The business would operate seven days a week, harvesting, storing and filtering water in accordance with the Australian Drinking Water Standards.

It would then be carted from Elbow Valley to the Gold Coast to be bottled and sold commercially, with vehicles making up to four return trips a day.

In a letter addressed to Southern Downs Regional Council, Andrew O'Dea said his farming property in Elbow Valley could be severely impacted if the development went ahead.

"Who will be held responsible if/when the extraction of water jeopardises our water supply and results in draining the spring-fed aquifers that supply our dams and creeks," Mr O'Dea said.

A report prepared by Rockwater Consultant Hydrogeologists stated long-term predictions on the impact of the development could not be modelled due to data limitations.

The application was scheduled for discussion in a Southern Downs Regional Council meeting yesterday but has been put on hold at the applicant's request.


Industrial interiors or indoors and machinery. Factory line for bottling of pure spring water into bottles and canisters.
The council will make a decision on the development application at meeting in 2019. DuxX

"Council has not requested the applicant to provide further information," a SDRC spokeswoman said.

However recommendations outlined in the council meeting agenda would see the application rejected.

"There are several areas of concern in relation to the proposed development," the report states.

"Extraction of groundwater for commercial sale elsewhere risks reducing ... groundwater storage within aquifers used for rural purposes and primary industry activities in the region."

The report indicated the proposed development was in conflict with several elements of the Southern Downs Planning Scheme.

"It proposes to reduce groundwater supplies identified as one of the region's most valuable resources and directly impact rural use and primary industry activities," it stated.

With a stop on the assessment period until 19 December 2018, councillors will make a decision on the application at a future council meeting.

The Warwick Daily News attempted to contact the applicant.