HAVE YOUR SAY on the proposed Southern Downs water supply areas

15 Mar 2024 |
15 March 2024

Southern Downs Regional Council is conducting community consultation in relation to proposed changes to the approved water supply areas and invites residents to have their say prior to recommendations being considered by Council in April.

Under the Water Supply (Safety & Reliability) Act 2008, Council must declare the service areas for water in its capacity as a water service provider and has updated the water service area plans to identify urban and rural areas separately.

Council has identified potential areas of expansion to urban areas and included them in the urban plan, while the plan for rural areas only covers existing connections and does not allow for additional rural supply connections.

Council recently approved an updated Water and Wastewater Customer Service Standard which reflects the level of service for urban and rural areas. In addition, Council approved the Rural Water Connection Policy which addresses how and where any new water connections in the rural areas will be administered.

Council’s Chief Executive Officer Dave Burges expected minimal community impact from the proposed changes and said the review was aimed at improving the management and efficiency of water supply in the Southern Downs.

“When the original water service areas were approved, they encompassed both urban and rural water connections without differentiation between the two,” Mr Burges said.

“Urban and rural areas have different infrastructure requirements and service levels, and this updated review gives Council the opportunity to establish these zones separately.

“In urban areas, the water mains are generally larger in diameter, usually 100mm or more, which provides hydrants and water mains with capacity for sufficient pressure and flow for firefighting.

“In some situations where a rural lot is developed directly adjacent to an urban zoned area, the reticulation has been extended to service the rural lot but the water main is generally much smaller, usually 20mm to 50mm in diameter.

“These smaller mains cannot deliver adequate pressure for firefighting or residential use, and customers on these rural zoned lots are still required to install tanks on their properties to provide adequate pressure.

“Pending Council’s decision, I want to emphasise that rural residents will not be forced to connect to the water mains. On the contrary, water mains in rural areas are very small and currently offer very limited capacity to existing customers.”

Applications for a new connection within a rural supply zone as a result of a development will be carefully assessed by Council to ensure that existing customers are not negatively impacted prior to Council approval of proposed amendments.

Residents in the urban water supply areas with a property within 100m of a water main are charged a half access charge if the property owner chooses not to connect to the network.

Any properties outside of the rural water supply area are assumed to not have access to water mains and therefore will not be charged.

Having your say is easy. Simply email feedback on the proposed changes to the water supply areas to waterfeedback@sdrc.qld.gov.au before 5pm on Friday 5 April 2024.

To view associated documentation and links to maps, visit Council’s website under Have Your Say at https://www.sdrc.qld.gov.au/living-here/have-your-say.

Last edited date 18 Mar 2024