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Securing water for our future

01 March 2021                                               

Water security remains a top priority for the Southern Downs Regional Council as it continues to explore all avenues to secure the supply of drinking water to its residents and businesses.

To ensure that residents are kept up to date with the latest dam levels, water restrictions, drought management and emergency water supply contingency plans, Council maintains a web page at where fortnightly updates on the region’s water situation can be reviewed.

Discussions are ongoing with key stakeholders from the State Government, other local government authorities, the community and businesses to undertake actions that will ensure that drinking water remains available.

The Southern Downs Water Contingency Plan available on Council’s website is updated monthly and contains short, medium and long term actions Council is taking to ensure water security for the region.

Examples of actions undertaken include undertaking hydraulic modelling to prepare water network models for Warwick, Stanthorpe and other supply schemes; the design of a treatment plant at Allora and pipeline reversal to supply water from Allora to Warwick, which has been completed and is shovel ready for future use; and the provision of clear water saving actions for residents and businesses across the region.

Improving the quality and increasing the production of recycled water to expand the distribution network for industrial and farming purposes remains a long term goal, as does investigating the option and cost to source a connection into the South East Queensland Grid.

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said “Although the region has received some welcome rains, the drought has not broken yet and residents are reminded that extreme level water restrictions of 120 litres per person per day are still in place across the region for users accessing drinking water supplies.”

“Outdoor water use remains prohibited, which includes the use of town water supplies for the establishment of new turf.”

Dam levels remain a concern with the current volume in Storm King Dam at 21.8%, Leslie Dam at 11.4% and Connolly Dam at 76.1%. Water remains in Storm King Dam as a contingency for emergency events and to provide a habitat for aquatic life. Based on current usage, Storm King Dam would reach its minimum operating level in 4 months if water for Stanthorpe was being sourced from the dam.  Connolly Dam’s current water level has decreased by 41 ML in the past fortnight, but dependent on water quality the dam will be able to supply water to Stanthorpe for 25 months.

With an average of 565 trucks loads of water carted to Stanthorpe per fortnight, residents are reminded that it is important to continue to conserve water and that the community remains vigilant in their water use to ensure the minimal amount of water is carted and the transportation costs are kept down.

Council continues to work with community members to ensure events can proceed with minimal water consumption, and whenever possible, water is to be sourced from an alternative supply.

Whilst water restrictions have been lifted for businesses, Council urges all businesses to be water aware and to continue water saving practices. Be Waterwise stickers are available for businesses located within the Southern Downs. These stickers are free of charge and can be collected from Council Administration Buildings for use in showers, toilets and near hand washing basins.

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