Communiqué No. 4, June 2008
Development of the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Water Supply Strategy is now well underway. The strategy will identify options for 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, local governments, water service providers, industry and other stakeholders with the department as the lead agency. Regional 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 sixth meeting of the Strategy Management Committee (SMC) was held on 28 May 2008. This communiqué provides a summary of the matters discussed at this meeting and the overall progress of the strategy.
Short term water supply situation
- As a result of the critical water supply situation across the Wide Bay Burnett during 2007 and early 2008, a drought status report was prepared to provide information regarding the supply status for all towns in the Wide Bay Burnett region. This report identified towns with estimated depletion dates of less than 12 months if no further inflows occur. This report is periodically updated to ensure that towns approaching a critical situation are identified and alternative sources can be found.
- Following the recent summer rainfall, all towns within the Wide-Bay Burnett region were identified to have more than 12 months supply in reserve, with the exception of three towns. The summer rainfall has not significantly improved the yields from groundwater bores supplying some of those towns (remains depleted). Kumbia continues to cart water from Kingaroy (South Burnett Regional Council).
- The department have commenced a Sedimentary and Fractured Rock Aquifer project to identify new groundwater resources across the state. There are 15 proposed sites within the Wide Bay Burnett region identified from Murgon to Kumbia. Drilling within the region is expected to commence in June 2008 utilising the Departments drilling rig to depths in excess of 240 metres.
- There currently are no critical water supply arrangements activated in water supply schemes in the region.
Urban and Industrial demand study
- The department engaged MWH consultants to carry out an assessment of the existing water demands for urban and industrial purposes. The study has estimated the urban and industrial water demand to support regional growth for the next 50 years.
- A draft report is being reviewed by the SMC, Urban and Industrial Technical Working Group and the department. The report has identified future demand scenarios based on population projections provided by local governments and the Planning Information and Forecasting Unit (PIFU), considering various proposed demand management measures and efficiency initiatives.
- The methodology for this study utilised a combination of detailed demand analysis and end use assessment to determine the production and consumption trends, and for future forecasting of demands under three scenarios.
- Through the implementation of the demand management measures identified in the preferred scenario, the region is forecast on average to save 13% by 2026 and 16% by 2056.
- The average regional residential usage target being proposed is 240L/person/day by 2016 and 230L/person/day by 2026 which could be achieved through various proposed demand management measures.
Rural demand study
- The department engaged consultant Psi Delta to conduct an assessment of rural water demand in the region over the next 50 years for the region.
- A draft report is being reviewed by the SMC, Rural Technical Working Group and the department. The draft report includes an assessment of:
- Existing use and allocation of water for agricultural and mining purposes in the region
- Projected growth and diversification of agricultural industries in the region
- International trends and possible industry shifts in the future
- Impacts on water demand due to:
* on farm water efficiency gains in the future; and
* proposed delivery efficiency in water supply schemes.
- A number of scenarios for rural water demand forecasts in the region have been developed and a model has been developed to forecast demand for the next 5, 15, 25 and 50 years by commodity and by region. The model is capable of:
- estimating the effects of changes such as growth rates, on farm water efficiency, changes in crop mix
- providing forecast demand volumes by catchment and by industry
- examining the sensitivity of the overall future demands.
Climate Variability and Climate Change Assessments
- The Strategy will consider the potential impacts of climate variability and climate change on available water supplies in the future
- The queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence (QCCCE) has been engaged by the department to prepare a report on the :
* historic climate trend, averages and extremems
* climate change predictions built on CSIRO predictions for climate averages and extreme events in the region and considering a range of emission scenarios
* general circulation cycles that can be used in hydrological modelling to test the performance of existing and new water sources.
- A draft report has been prepared by QCCCE and is currently being reviewed.
Water Supply/Demand Balance and Bulk Water Supply Options Study
- Following on from the rural, urban/industrial demand and climate change/variability studies, the department will carry out the water supply demand balance assessment. The assessment will compare projected demands against existing water availability, and propose a range of measures to ensure that both the supply and demand are met.
Technical working groups have been established to ensure the needs of various stakeholders, including local government, industry, socila, economic, cultural, the environment and agriculture are considered in developing proposed water supply options for the future.
Last reviewed 23 March 2011
Last updated 16 July 2008