Growers battle to protect the next generation of farmers
GREG Lerch wants to ensure farming in the Lockyer Valley is sustainable for the next generation, which includes his son Andrew.
But without working water meters, potential water allocations could cripple any chance for the up-and-coming farmers.
"I could throw my hands up and say it's too hard and walk away, but I'm staying in it because of them," Mr Lerch said.
While last week's announcement that $2.5 million would be delivered to fix broken water meters in farms across the central Lockyer, Mr Lerch believes the result could have been achieved quicker.
The funding forms part of a $5m project that would save the local economy from unrealistic water allocations.
The remaining $2.5m will be funded by Seqwater, but Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Anthony Lynham said the costs would be recovered.
"The department (of Natural Resources, Energy and Mines) has been pushing for allocation for years and have gone ahead with their plans," Mr Lerch said.
"Then suddenly, they have recognised it's not correct and have started consulting with farmers."
Mr Lerch operates three farms across the Lockyer Valley, predominantly growing beetroot, broccoli and cauliflower for the fresh market.
With multiple broken meters on his farms, the initial water allocation handed down earlier this year would have cut his operation by three quarters.
"I had told them (Seqwater) the meters were broken, but I was told there was no funding to fix them, or the meters were obsolete so they couldn't get parts," Mr Lerch said.
With more than 80 per cent of the region's water meters failing to work adequately, Federal Member for Wright, Scott Buchholz, said farmers needed more reliable equipment.
"Without water, the community will suffer and the flow-on effects for the community are enormous," Mr Buchholz said.
"The irrigators of the Lockyer Valley have managed the water and infrastructure assets for the past decade," Mr Buchholz said.
The project will include a telemetric operation that will replace meters and allow information to transfer through satellites instantaneously to a central monitoring point.