Water, the Rookwood Weir & the Law - PART ONE


The long awaited Business Case from the State Government (Building Queensland) was released on 24 January, 2018 in regard to the Rookwood Weir. It is basically a cost benefit or economic analysis of the project. The projected cost for the Weir has been lifted from $260M to $352M. The Business Case can be found here:


Some of the benefits from the Rookwood Weir are noted as:-

  • Additional water made available for customers along the Fitzroy River;

  • Increased regional employment from increased agricultural production; and

  • Reduced costs associated with a "failed wet season" for Rockhampton.

The Federal Government has put $130M on the table towards the project. The State Government were waiting on the Business Case before they made commitments towards funding. There is a political football being passed from pillar to post at the moment.

The media has previously reported on the costs associated with a "failed wet season" for Rockhampton. In the Business Case there is reference to "fast falling nature of the water levels" at the Fitzroy Barrage and it states that the demand on storage could fall from full to below minimum operating legal "in under 12 months" if there are inflow issues in the surrounding area.

So what does happen if governments don't agree on water infrastructure funding? A great example of this is occurring right now in Cape Town. South Africa's second largest city is less than 3 months away from the day known as "day zero." The latest projection is that the popular coastal tourist city will run dry on 16 April, 2018. Cape Town has a metro population of a little over 4 million people. For more information, check out the below link:


If "day zero" does arrive then water will be rationed to 25 litres per day. Water will be distributed from collection points. There will be security guards, police and army officers needed to take care of the lines of people.

The cause of the impending day zero is due to a few years of drought and a political football being passed between the national government and the city about funding for infrastructure and crisis mitigation.

Ironically, the costs of the infrastructure in these circumstances is minor in comparison to the costs on an economy which relies on tourism and agriculture.

These are Melanie's thoughts on funding and a like for like scenario.

Melanie's views are her own and should not be interpreted as those of Rees R & Sydney Jones.

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