Making water work to develop the Fitzroy Food Bowl

Published on 21 December 2022


As progress on Rookwood Weir continues and construction milestones ticked off, work behind the scenes in preparation for making the most of all agricultural water in the Rockhampton region is powering ahead.

The region’s lead economic development agency, Advance Rockhampton, has been working closely with Rookwood Weir proponent, Sunwater, the Cooperative Research Centre for Northern Australia (CRCNA) and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on the Making Water Work program.

Rockhampton Region Mayor Tony Williams stressed the importance of this work, as tenders are now open for the Rookwood Weir second tranche of water sales.

“Central Queensland farmers now have access to a once in a lifetime opportunity, more water provides more opportunities for growth of agriculture in our region,” Mayor Williams said.

“Rookwood Weir has provided the catalyst to help drive the region’s agricultural production with ongoing planning efforts aimed at using all water resources more effectively and focusing further infrastructure development in the Fitzroy Food Bowl. This will attract additional business investment.” 

Advance Rockhampton Executive Manager Greg Bowden said that the Making Water Work program will put Rocky on the Radar for future investment in horticulture, cropping and livestock production.

“The Making Water Work program underpins maximising agricultural diversity, increasing regional revenue, creating more jobs, delivering export opportunities and building the Fitzroy Food Bowl,” Mr Bowden stated.

“As agriculture grows and economies of scale are produced Rockhampton will see more homegrown products produced locally with more food manufacturing being happening within region.”

CRCNA chief scientist Professor Allan Dale believes the Making Water Work program’s integrated approach will drive significant sustainable outcomes for Rockhampton.

“To get this right we have implemented five key planning pillars to assist a community in transition,” Professor Dale said.

“Precinct & supply chain planning, visionary land use, improving water governance, a circular economy pilot through hyacinth harvesting and improving reef water quality will see Rockhampton increase agricultural production and improve environmental outcomes at the same time, a win-win situation for all.”

The Making Water Work program has seen investment from the project partners, Rockhampton Regional Council, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the CRCNA.