Living Here

Water Update

Monday, 9 December 2019           Water Briefing Update

Current levels and expected run out dates

  • Stanthorpe
    • Current level and volume 11.9% and 232 ML
    • Based on latest data and targeted usage, run out in December 2019/January 2020, dependent on water quality as the dam level reduces.
  • Warwick
    • Leslie - current level and volume 4.91% and 5217 ML
    • Connolly – current level and volume 28.8% and 623 ML
    • Based on latest data and targeted usage, run out in mid-late 2020, dependent on water quality as the dam level reduces.  This includes supply of water to Stanthorpe.

Water Restrictions

  • Critical Water Restrictions were introduced on 1 September 2019.
    • The new target for residential properties is 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
  • 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 100 litres/person/day (l/p/d).  Whilst overall, water use in our major towns has decreased since the implementation of critical water restrictions in September, Council have noticed an increase in water use in the last two months at Stanthorpe and Warwick and urges people to do all they can to meet the 100 l/p/d target.
    • Warwick around 122 l/p/d   (November 2019)
    • Stanthorpe around 138 l/p/d   (November 2019)
  • 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
    • Water will be carted from Connolly Dam raw water line in Warwick to Stanthorpe
      • Water will be transferred in to 2 x 1 megalitre tanks which will gravity feed the water into the existing raw water line at the wall of Storm King Dam.  Construction of tank, pipe line and water fill stations is nearing completion.
      • Based on daily use of 1.6ML per day, between 40 and 50 truckloads of water per day are required.
      • Council has upgraded the turn into Storm King Dam access road from Eukey Road, as well as Storm King Dam access road.
      • New treatment units are under installation at Stanthorpe Water Treatment Plant to treat the water from Connolly Dam.
      • New filling points are being installed to allow the trucks to fill with raw water from the Connolly Dam raw water line.
      • The State Government has committed $2.4 million to the upgrade works as detailed above.  The State Government is also paying the cartage costs of $800,000 per month ongoing until February 2021.
      • It is important that the water continues to be conserved 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.
      • Contingency arrangements are being finalised for water carting to minimise any risk to Stanthorpe water supply from unforeseen events such as road closures due to bushfire, road accidents etc.

  • 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
    • Water may be required to be sourced from outside the region and carted by rail or road to Warwick
  • 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
  • Wallangarra emergency supply
    • Emergency water supply for Wallangarra will be sourced from an existing, un-used production bore at Paling Yard Road. The bore was recently pump tested and results confirmed that the bore will be able to provide adequate supply to the town should the dams run dry
    • An emergency water permit has been issued by DNRME to allow Council to take water from this bore.
    • Work is now underway to install new pumps and pipework to transfer water from the bore to the Soak. Water will be pumped to the Wallangarra water treatment plant from the Soak to be treated prior to distribution to the town. 

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 
  • Leak detection has been completed across the whole network.
  • 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.
  • On 13 September 2019 the State Government announced funding for the water carting of $800,000 per month to ensure a secure drinking water supply for Stanthorpe until 2021.

Standpipes – November use

  • The Warwick and Stanthorpe standpipes are now open for use by all Avdata key holders 24/7. The restriction of 2000 litres/week or 8000 litres/month remains in place for private users.

  • Stanthorpe
    • Total Bulk Water Supplied:            5.79 ML  Increased by 13% from October 2019
    • Water Carters take:                       5.33 ML
    • Total Visits:                                    758
    • Private individual visits:                 438
  • Warwick
    • Total Bulk Water Supplied:            3.92 ML  Increased by 108% from October 2019
    • Water Carters take:                       3.79 ML
    • Total Visits:                                    387
    • Private individual visits:                 116

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 has been finalised.

Update on compliance notices

  • Council has issued 108 compliance notices to date and 14 fines
  • Staff that are usually involved in slashing have been undertaking 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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