Living Here

Water Update

Monday, 19 August 2019           Water Briefing Update

Current levels and expected run out dates

  • Stanthorpe
    • Current level and volume 23.7% and 490 ML
    • Based on latest data and targeted usage, run out in December 2019/January 2020
  • Warwick
    • Leslie - current level and volume 6.03% and 6407 ML
    • Connolly – current level and volume 34.8% and 754 ML
    • Based on latest data and targeted usage, run out in December 2020

Water Restrictions

  • Drinking water supplied by Southern Downs Regional Council is only available for use by Southern Downs Regional Council residents.
  • Water use in our major towns continues to decrease and is getting closer to the target levels.  Residential water use target is 120 litres/person/day (l/p/d).  Council appreciates all that people are doing to meet these limits
    • Warwick around 129 l/p/d
    • Stanthorpe around 158 l/p/d
  • Critical Water Restrictions will be introduced on 1 September 2019.
    • The new target for residential properties will be 100 l/p/d
    • Businesses will be asked to reduce their consumption by a further 10%
    • Council will continue to assist residents and businesses with water reduction
  • At a later date, we may move to Emergency water restrictions at 80 l/p/d.The date for this is yet to be determined.
  • Water must not be taken from a fire hydrant without the permission of the service provider unless it is for the purpose of fire fighting.

Options Report

  • Stanthorpe emergency supply
    • Possible options for carting water from Warwick:
      • Transfer of raw water and treat at Stanthorpe Water Treatment Plant
      • Transfer of treated water from Warwick Water Treatment Plant directly into Stanthorpe network
      • Water may be sourced from both Leslie and Connolly Dams
      • Water may be sourced from bores if suitable yield and quality
      • Temporary storage facilities will be required
  • Warwick emergency supply
    • Supplementary water may be sourced from bores
      • New bores
      • Reviewing Allora bores for suitability
      • Investigating viability of existing public and private bores
  • Transfer of water will require
    • Temporary storage facilities and additional infrastructure
    • Portable water treatment plants may be used to treat the water
    • Design and construction of infrastructure for tankering

Dam Survey

  • Storm King and Connolly Dam – both have between 100-150ML (estimated) less water available due to siltation – across the whole dam area
  • This had an immaterial impact on the supply
  • Leslie Dam – no material impact from silt levels
  • Currently reviewing options, however if we desilt below water level, the water quality will be impacted
  • Desilting may be considered if alternative water supplies are implemented

Pressure and Leakage

  • Part of overall water demand strategy – these are underground leaks that are otherwise unable to be detected
  • Stanthorpe, Dalveen and Wallangarra have had leak detection completed. All of the leaks on public infrastructure have been repaired
    • Saving about 8ML per month
  • Leak detection across the network will be completed by end August 2019
    • Leaks continue to be repaired as Council becomes aware of them

Water Efficiency Management Plans

  • 11 high water users have worked with council to reduce their water use. This has reduced consumption by about 23 ML since March 2019.
  • Council continues to work with businesses in ways to reduce their water consumption

Emergency Water Utility Charge

  • The Utility Charge policy was brought in as part of the budget
  • It is included as part of the Revenue Statement, the Revenue statement cannot be revised or altered during the year
  • The Utility Charge policy would only be enacted if; 
    • The State Government did not provide funding for supplying water to residents across the Southern Downs
    • The Federal Government did not provide funding for supplying water to residents across the Southern Downs
    • Council had exhausted all operational and capital funds, including cash reserves
  • It is likely that funding will be made available through both the State and Federal Governments
  • It is important that Council plan for all scenarios.

Standpipes – July use

  • Stanthorpe
    • Total Take:                                     3.68 Megs
    • Water Carters take:                       3.49 Megs
    • Total Visits:                                    513
    • Private individual visits:                 189
  • Warwick
    • Total Take:                                     3.48 Megs
    • Water Carters take:                       3.45 Megs
    • Total Visits:                                    273
    • Private individual visits:                 26

One private individual exceeded their allocated volume for the month of July, which Council investigated.  All other private users were within their allocation of 2000 litres per week.

Regional Marketing Initiative

  • The LGAQ coordinated a joint marketing campaign across Southern Downs, Western Downs, South Burnett, Toowoomba and Goondiwindi.
  • The campaign will use all forms of media to communicate water conservation messages to all communities impacted by drought.
  • This campaign is due to begin with television advertising from 11 August.

Update on water carting request for quotation

  • Southern Downs Regional Council has sought offers from suitably qualified and experienced contractors to establish a Preferred Supplier Arrangement (PSA) for the supply of water cartage services to sites within the Southern Downs Region.
  • This request closed on 25 July 2019.
  • The panel is currently being finalised following some additional clarifications being sought.

Update on compliance notices

  • Council has issued 42 compliance notices to date
  • Staff that are usually involved in slashing will undertake additional water readings on businesses and residential premises.
  • Water consumption on each of the properties has dropped by an average of 75%.
  • Compliance notices continue to be issued to high water users.

Community Events

  • 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.


  • Council will display all information relating to the drought and current water crisis under a specific tab on the Council website.
  • The Southern Downs Regional Council website should be the primary reference point for all questions relating to the water crisis. Every aspect related to the water crisis will be placed on a tab on the front page of the site. 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.
  • Each Monday the Mayor will respond to important questions from the community that can be submitted either by email ( or via the Council Facebook page. The Mayor will provide these responses via a video message on the website, Facebook page and YouTube. The video message will aim to be informative and provide answers to specific questions where possible.
  • Council will facilitate additional community information sessions or Questions and Answers forums in the coming months. These sessions and forums will have a focus on water and water conservation, as well allowing members of the community to ask about other Council related activities.

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