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Water Update

Monday, 26 July 2021            Water Briefing Update

Permanent Water Saving Rules

Permanent water saving rules are now in place with a target of 200 litres per person per day apply across the region for users accessing drinking water supplies. 

Outdoor watering and cleaning times: Use of water for outdoor watering and cleaning of hard surfaces can only occur:

·         7am – 9am and 4pm – 6pm        May –September

·         6am – 8am and 5pm – 7pm        October – April

Hand Held Hose: Water from a hand-held hose can only be used if it is fitted with a trigger nozzle and is leak free.

Garden Sprinklers: Garden sprinklers must be a minimum 3 star rating and used in conjunction with a timer.

·         Maximum use of a water efficient sprinkler is 20 minutes on any one day where outdoor watering is allowed.

·         Sprinklers can only be used in accordance with scheduled outdoor watering times.

·         Use of efficient sprinklers must comply with Efficient Irrigation for Water Conservation Guidelines.

Residential Vehicle Washing (includes cars, caravans, trailers, bikes and boats): Permitted within allocated outdoor watering times using:

·         Hand-held hoses (with trigger nozzle)

·         Buckets

·         High pressure, low volume water cleaning units

Cleaning windows, mirrors and lights for safety can be done at any time of day using a bucket.

Cleaning of hard surfaces: water can be used (using water-wise practices) to clean driveways, paths, concrete, tiles, timber decking and solar panels where:

·         Cleaning is required as a result of an accident, fire, health hazard, safety hazard or other emergency (can occur any time of day)

·         If surface staining has occurred (cleaning can occur once per season)

·         In the course of construction or renovation (Exemptions may be required within the water restriction framework)

Waterwise practices must be used when cleaning hard surfaces. This means:

·         Use of a high pressure, low volume water cleaning device; or

·         If such a device is not available, a hand held hose (see above) or a bucket and broom

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.

COVID-19 and provision of water and wastewater services

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Southern Downs Regional Council is focused on ensuring business as usual continuity for water and wastewater services across the region. Residents can rest assured that provision of drinking water and sanitation services will continue as normal.  Recent rains have replenished the water supply dams, allowing water restrictions to be relaxed to 200 litres per person per day.

Current levels and expected run out dates

  • Stanthorpe
    • Current water level and volume in Storm King Dam is 100% and 2065 ML. The dam has filled following rains received in March 2021.
    • Storm King Dam is now being used for town water supply and water is no longer being carted from Connolly Dam.  Storm King would reach its minimum operating level in 18 months with no further inflows.
  • Warwick
    • Leslie Dam - The current water level and volume in Leslie Dam is 55.2% and 58463ML. This level has increased by 1732ML over the past week following recent rains.  As a priority user of Leslie Dam, Council has high and medium priority allocation reserved for town water supply from the owners of the Dam, Sunwater.  The reserved allocation for Council provides approximately 27 months supply prior to the dam reaching it's minimum operating level with no further inflows. Based on probable medium priority water use forecasts by Sunwater, with recent rain and inflow into Leslie Dam, it will be at least 12 months with no further inflow in the dam before the medium priority cut off point is reached, at which time medium priority water supply is ceased by Sunwater. Therefore, based on the current level of water in Leslie Dam, Council has approximately 39 months supply for Warwick and surrounding areas.  If the dam receives further inflows, it is likely that Council will receive further supply extension.
    • Connolly Dam – current water level and volume is 100% and 2166 ML.  This level has not changed in the last week.

Drought Management Plan Update

The consultation period for the survey on water restrictions closed and a draft Drought Management Plan is being prepared. Opportunity for feedback on the draft plan will be available in coming months. 

Water release from Leslie Dam by Sunwater

  • Water allocation for water storage level above 460.35m AHD is managed by Sunwater in accordance with the user agreements between Sunwater and licence holders. Sunwater controls how and when this water is released.
  • All releases for irrigation cease once the dam water level reaches 460.35 m AHD. The remaining supply is reserved exclusively for town water supply for Southern Downs Regional Council.

Emergency Water Supply

  • Warwick emergency supply
    • Leslie Dam - Recent rain has restored the water level in Leslie Dam which has restored the Warwick/Allora/Yangan water supply.
    • Investigation to source supplementary water will continue to source backup water for future use.
    • Council is in discussion with Toowoomba Regional Council and Seqwater to supply water to Warwick via a new pipeline. This is a State government led project.
    • Investigation work continues to identify additional bore sites for supplementary emergency water for Warwick.
  • Wallangarra emergency supply

Recent rainfall has restored the water level in both the Beehive Dam and The Soak to full capacity. Current storage in both these dams has sufficient water to supply water to Wallangarra and part of Jennings for over 18 months. Water is currently sourced from the Beehive Dam. Work associated with sourcing emergency water supply for Wallangarra is now complete and can be brought online as required. 

Pressure and Leakage

  • Leak detection has been completed across the whole network.
  • Leaks continue to be repaired as Council becomes aware of them.
  • Work continues to develop hydraulic models of the water supply network for the strategic management of leaks, efficient pressure management and future planning.

Communications

  • The Southern Downs Regional Council website should be the primary reference point for all questions relating to water queries.
  • Updates will be provided on a regular basis to the website on key issues such as water restrictions, storage forecasts and water conservation tips, as well as frequently asked questions.
  • Important questions from the community can be submitted either by email (drought@sdrc.qld.gov.au) or via the Council Facebook page.

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