The benefits of the project have also been misrepresented regarding agriculture.
The Burdekin Falls Dam has seen the river downstream at times hardly flowing at all and we should expect the same for farmers downstream of Urannah Dam if it is allowed to go ahead. This means a huge loss in groundwater, a terrifying thought for those who rely on groundwater recharge for their crops and means that many will have to turn to irrigation and paying for water they had previously received free. It also risks increased salination of agricultural land for coastal lying farmers!
Whether they previously relied on groundwater or not, farmers are rightly concerned about future increases in water costs. The National Water Initiative requires that the proponent attempts to recoup construction and operating costs from the water user, and with the project projecting such a poor cost-benefit analysis (26c benefit for every $1 cost), this is a fair and logical concern.
The Proponent Bowen River Utilities has assumed a high-value crop mix will result from the supply of water for irrigation to the Collinsville region. Their business case however lacks the evidence required to justify this assumption. Similar irrigation schemes which also aimed to establish high value irrigated crops (eg Burdekin Falls Dam & Burdekin Irrigation Area) now mainly produce sugar cane, a low-value crop. The farmers of sugar cane must be protected as opposed to increasing water prices for a crop mix that is a pipe dream.
All in all this Dam will be devastating for farmers