Communiqué No. 2, November 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 fourth meeting of the Strategy Management Committee was held on 14 November 2007. This communiqué provides a summary of the matters discussed at this meeting and the overall progress of the strategy.
- Given the critical water supply situation at present, the recent focus of the strategy’s development has been on the short term supply issues for all local government areas in the Wide Bay Burnett.
- A drought status report was prepared to provide information regarding the supply status for all towns in the Wide Bat Burnett region. This report identified towns with estimated depletion dates of less than 12 months if no further inflows occur.
- A summary of the drought status report was presented to the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils in August. The data used to collate the report provided to each council (relative to their council area only) to ensure the data was accurate and up to date. Approximately 75% of councils responded.
- Where towns were identified as critical, the department has been working with the affected local government to develop and facilitate options for extending their short term water supplies. The Department will continue to work with local governments to achieve short and long term solutions for maintaining urban water supplies throughout the region.
- Recent storms in the region have provided some relief, mainly in coastal areas of the Mary Basin.
- Lenthall Dam has risen to 60% capacity (equates to 93% of the old capacity prior to raising)
- Cedar Pocket Dam, Teddington Weir and Tinana Barrage are at 100% capacity
- Borumba Dam is at 49% capacity (up from 39%)
- Paradise Dam is at 16% capacity (up from 10%)
- Claude Wharton Weir (near Gayndah) has risen to 44% and this has increased the high priority announced allocation from 47% to 100% and medium priority from 0% to 24% (on the pond of Claude Wharton Weir only).
- Gregory River Weir (supplying Childers and Woodgate) is now at full capacity.
- Inland Burnett, particularly in the south continues to suffer the effect of the drought. Bjelke-Petersen Dam remains at 2%, with Boondooma Dam at 10%. Long term additional and alternative water supplies will be investigated for these areas as a priority as part of the strategy.
- Critical Water supply arrangements are still activated for the Bundaberg, Upper Burnett, Barker Barambah and Boyne River and Tarong Water Supply Schemes.
Urban and industrial demand consultancy
- The department engaged MWH consultants to carry out an assessment of the existing water demands for urban and industrial purposes. They will also estimate the additional urban and industrial water demand anticipated to support regional growth for the next 50 years.
- MWH have engaged local councils to seek vital information about existing water usage through billing information. Many of the councils are using the database "practical" which supported the SEQ regional water supply study by creating a query for the relevant data to be extracted in a short time. Most councils have provided the required information to MWH.
- A draft report of the study is due to be submitted to the department in February 2008.
- A technical working group has been established to provide feedback on the draft report provided by MWH. This group includes technical water engineering staff from local governments, water service providers and other state agencies (EPA and the Department of Infrastructure and Planning).
Rural demand consultancy
- The department has recently engaged Psi Delta to conduct an assessment of the existing and rural water use and forecast demands over the next 50 years for the region.
- The assessment will include:
- Identifying existing use and allocation of water for agricultural purposes in the region
- Projected growth and diversification of agricultural industries in the region
- Identifying international trends and possible industry shifts in the future
- Identifying impacts on water demand from:
- on farm water efficiency gains in the future and
- water service provider plans to improve delivery efficiency in water supply schemes.
- A number of scenarios for rural water demand forecasts in the region will be developed and presented by water supply scheme and at a sub regional level.
- A technical working group has also been established for this study and will initially be asked to provide feedback on a proposed survey of rural water users in the region.
- The rural demand report is due for submission to the department in March 2008.
Following on from these studies, a water supply and demand balance assessment will compare projected demands against existing water availability and consider future bulk supply options to meet identified shortfalls. Social, economic and environmental requirements of the region and the potential impact of climate change will be considered as part of this process.
Last reviewed 23 March 2011
Last updated 5 June 2008