26 September 2023

Inland water plan springs into action

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The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) has announced a $1.5 million grant to develop and protect emerging artesian spring wetlands around the Longreach, Diamantina and Quilpie Shires

The funding, under the Natural Resources Investment Program (NRIP), aims to reverse decades of decline.

Executive Director of DNRME, Jarrod Cowley-Grimmond said Desert Channels Queensland would spend the next two years identifying, mapping, and implementing measures to safeguard and nurture budding springs across the three Shires.

“The Queensland and Australian Governments’ actions in the last two decades has seen the capping of more than 700 uncontrolled bores and fixing of 14,300 kilometres of drains, which has supported the reinvigoration of wetlands that for decades were in decline,” Mr Cowley-Grimmond said.

“These actions help save almost 210,000 megalitres of water out of the Great Artesian Basin each year.”

He said saving this water had increased the water pressure below ground, acting as catalyst for the re-emergence of the springs.

“The Desert Channels Queensland project aims to nurture and improve groundwater quality and protect these emerging springs, encouraging the return of native fish, crustaceans and plant life in this ecosystem,” Mr Cowley-Grimmond said.

“While these springs are relatively small, they are an oasis in the outback that support a diverse mix of flora and fauna, and act as a safe haven for them during times of drought.”

He said they also provided a strong spiritual connection for the local Indigenous peoples.

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