The Central Highlands regions features a unique geography and a broad spectrum of soil types suited to various forms of irrigated crop production.
The regions’ three main rivers (Nogoa, Comet and Mackenzie – as well as tributaries) form part of the east flowing Fitzroy River Basin which is supplementary sustained by the Fairbairn Dam at Emerald, and a series of strategic weirs downstream.
Water entitlements are distributed along the system and are utilised for:
- domestic usage in regional towns
- industrial and resource sector use for many mining leases
- agriculture use to a myriad of operations from small crops to horticulture and large scale flood irrigation
The Emerald Irrigation Area located around the township of Emerald below the Fairbairn Dam takes irrigation water from two major channel systems, the Weemah and the Selma.
Since the implementation of the Water Act 2000, irrigation entitlements are tradable on a permanent basis and a steady market enables farmers, resource sector companies, local developments and domestic users to buy and sell their water licences.
Additional water entitlement holders can sell the seasonal use of their allocations into an active, daily market place.