It is estimated about 4 million litres of water are being wasted because hundreds of bores remained uncapped.

A Federal Government program to cap bores has been scrapped, and farmers say millions of litres of water are now being wasted every day.

It is estimated about 4 million litres of water are being wasted because hundreds of bores remained uncapped. (ABC News: Pete Lewis)

A Federal Government program to cap bores The Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative (GABSI) has so far repaired around 650 bores – many sunk about 100 years ago – since being introduced by the Howard government. Until now the project has been helping farmers utilise underground water sourced from the Great Artesian Basin to sustain their families and livestock.

But hundreds of bores remain uncapped, allowing water to seep into open drains, with estimates about 98 per cent is being lost to evaporation and seepage.

Queensland farmer Peter Lucas says he is angry and disappointed over the program’s scrapping and is calling on the Federal Government to finish the job.

Mr Lucas, who owns Cliffdale, located about halfway between Cunnamulla and Charleville in Queensland’s south-west, warns the decision not to cap remaining bores is wasting millions of litres of water every day.

“They reckon about 98 per cent of all the water that runs into those drains – at the rate of up to 4 million litres a day – is lost to evaporation and seepage,” he said.

Under GABSI, it is estimated it costs around $1,600 to save one megalitre of water, compared with about $2,500 a megalitre under the Murray-Darling Basin buyback scheme.

Charles Burke, chief executive of Queensland rural lobby group AgForce, says the scheme has delivered spectacular results in terms of water savings, environmental improvements and on-farm productivity.

“This has been a very successful three-way partnership between the Commonwealth, three state governments and individual landholders,” Mr Burke said.”

Calls for Federal Government to continue funding for scheme

Read more from Landline by Rural and Regional Reporter Peter Lewis (ABC News: Pete Lewis)


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Water Management

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