Living Here

Water Update

Monday, 13 January 2020           Water Briefing Update

Current levels and expected run out dates

  • Stanthorpe
    • Current level and volume 9.6% and 197 ML.
    • Based on latest data and targeted usage, run out in December 2019/January 2020, dependent on water quality as the dam level reduces.
    • Water remains in Storm King Dam as a contingency for emergency events and to provide a habitat for aquatic life.
  • Warwick
    • Leslie - current level and volume 4.61% and 4898 ML
    • Connolly – current level and volume 25.6% and 555 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

  • With commencement of water carting to Stanthorpe from last week, Emergency Level Water Restrictions are now in place and will be enforced by Council through the Southern Downs Region, including the township of Jennings in NSW.
    • The new target for residential properties is 80 litres/person/day (l/p/d)
    • 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.
  • Whilst overall, water use in our major towns has decreased since the implementation of critical water restrictions in September, Council urges people to do all they can to meet the emergency level water consumption target of 80 l/p/d.
    • Warwick around 110 l/p/d       (December 2019)
    • Stanthorpe around 130 l/p/d   (December 2019)
  • 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
    • Full time water carting (as of 13 January 2020) is now underway from Connolly Dam raw water line in Warwick to Stanthorpe
      • Water is transferred  into 2 x 1 megalitre tanks which will gravity feed the water into the existing raw water line at the wall of Storm King Dam. 
      • Based on daily use of 1.6ML per day, between 40 and 50 truckloads of water per day are required.
      • Council upgraded the turn into Storm King Dam access road from Eukey Road, as well as Storm King Dam access road.
      • Additional treatment units are in operation at Stanthorpe Water Treatment Plant to treat the water from Connolly Dam.
      • Filling points are now being used 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 in place for water carting to minimise any risk to Stanthorpe water supply from unforeseen events such as road closures due to bushfire, road accidents or to manage weather driven water quality changes.

  • Warwick emergency supply
    • Leslie Dam - Council is now investigating options to draw water beyond the current pump draw point.
    • Supplementary water may be sourced from bores
      • New bores
      • Reviewing Allora bores for suitability. Council is also investigating the feasibility of reversing the water pipeline from Warwick to Allora 
      • 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.
    • Council is in discussion with Toowoomba Regional Council and Seqwater to supply water to Warwick via a new pipeline.
  • 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.
    • Pipeline installation is now complete and work is now underway to install new pumps 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                                              December 2019        November 2019
    • Total Bulk Water Supplied:           3.26 ML                     5.79 ML 
    • Water Carters take:                      2.99 ML                     5.33 ML
    • Total Visits:                                   456                            758
    • Private individual visits:                274                            438
  • Warwick                                                 December 2019       November 2019
    • Total Bulk Water Supplied:            2.13 ML                    3.92 ML 
    • Water Carters take:                       1.98 ML                    3.79 ML
    • Total Visits:                                    298                           387
    • Private individual visits:                 149                           116

Update on compliance notices

  • Council has issued 109 compliance notices to date and 16 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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