Communiqué No. 1, August 2007
Development of the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Water Supply Strategy is now underway. The strategy will outline how the region’s urban, industrial, mining and agricultural water demand will be met over the next 50 years.
The strategy is being developed in partnership between the Queensland Government and local governments, with the department as the lead agency. The Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils, major water service providers, and key water user groups in the region are represented on a strategy management committee that provides strategic policy direction throughout the process.
The third meeting of the strategy management committee was held on 8 August 2007. This communiqué provides a summary of the matters discussed at this meeting and the overall progress of the strategy.
- The strategy area includes the Baffle Basin, Burnett Basin and Mary Basin, excluding the Maroochy River and Mooloolah River sub-catchments which are included in the South East Queensland Regional Water Supply Strategy. The Strategy area does not include Fraser Island due to its declaration as a Wild River.
- Critical Water Supply Arrangements have been activated for the Bundaberg, Upper-Burnett, Barker Barambah and Boyne River and Tarong Water Supply Schemes. These arrangements aim to prolong the supply of water to meet high priority demands and have been activated in response to critically low storage levels throughout the Burnett Basin.
- As a result of the current drought situation, a preliminary drought status report has been prepared to assess the status of current town water supplies in the Wide Bay Burnett region. The aim was to identify towns at risk such that remedial measures can be implemented to secure short term supplies.
- Seven towns, mostly from the South Burnett region, were identified as having critical water supply status with potential to become depleted within 12 months if no inflows occur.
- The department has been working with affected local governments and contingency plans have been developed that will now extend the water supplies for these towns beyond 12 months.
- The status of town water supplies will continue to be reviewed and medium to long-term measures to secure town water supplies will be developed as part of the strategy.
- The department is in the process of engaging consultants to assess existing and future urban and industrial water demands and existing and future rural water demands for the next 50 years. This is a major aspect of the strategy’s development. The Terms of Reference for these studies have been finalised.
- Two technical working groups have been established to contribute technical expertise and advice for these existing and future demand studies. In particular they will review the draft reports prepared by the consultants. The technical working groups comprise local government, state agency, water service provider, industry and agricultural sector representatives.
- Following on from these studies, a water balance assessment will be carried out to identify where demands can be met from available traditional sources and where non-traditional sources may need to be considered for the future. The potential impact of climate change will also be considered.
- The department will be contacting each local government seeking validation of the data that was collated for the drought status report and an appropriate contact for consultants working on the urban and industrial demand assessments.
- A communication plan has been prepared for the strategy and reviewed by an external consultant. Major stakeholder engagement will occur through the strategy management committee, technical working groups and the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Planning Advisory Committee (including the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils). Materials to promote awareness in the general community will be developed throughout the project, including a summary brochure which will be available for distribution in September 2007.
Last reviewed 23 March 2011
Last updated 5 June 2008