On the 25th of September 2019, Sunwater, a Queensland State Government owned corporation, announced that during an extended drought, they would release 105 million litres (megalitres) of water (105,000 ML) from Paradise Dam due to safety concerns over the dams’ integrity.
Since then, the Queensland State Government and Sunwater have lowered the wall of Paradise Dam by 5.8 metres and reduced its capacity from 300,000 ML to 170,000 ML.
The Bundaberg district is battling with yet another dry year, with limited inflows into the region’s irrigation dams.
It is anticipated that water allocations – which have averaged 92% over the last 10 years – will be approximately 10% in the 2021-2022 water year.
Sunwater and the Government’s mishandling of Paradise Dam has placed at risk the water security and reliability which has made Bundaberg one of the food bowls of the nation.
This endangers 7500-8000 jobs directly, $1 billion dollars per year of agricultural production and 25% of Australia’s fresh produce production (at peak times of the year).
The projected losses to farmers in the Bundaberg region and the Bundaberg economy will be in the billions.
Growers in the Bundaberg region have been left with no choice but to instigate a class action against Sunwater and the Queensland State Government to seek to recoup the billions of dollars of lost production that will occur because of the lowering of Paradise Dam.
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