Communiqué No. 5, November 2008
Development of the draft Wide Bay Burnett Regional Water Supply Strategy is nearing completion. 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 and local governments, 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 seventh meeting of the Strategy Management Committee was held on 29 October 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
- A drought status report was prepared during 2007 and early 2008 to provide water supply status and estimated depletion dates with no further inflow for identified towns in the Wide Bay Burnett region.
- Following the 2007/08 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 Kumbia. Kumbia’s town water supply is predominantly groundwater dependant and this rainfall has not improved the supply (remains depleted). Kumbia continues to cart water from Kingaroy (South Burnett Regional Council).
- The Department continues to work with Regional Councils to achieve short and long term solutions for maintaining urban water supplies throughout the region. The Department has implemented 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 has commenced utilising the Departments drilling rig to depths in excess of 240 metres. There have been no major supplies located to this point in time.
- There currently are no critical water supply arrangements activated for the Bundaberg, Upper Burnett, Barker Barambah, and Boyne River and Tarong Water Supply Schemes.
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 over the next 50 years for the region.
- Through the implementation of the demand management measures identified in the recommended Preferred Scenario, the region is forecast to save 13% by 2026 and 16% by 2056.
- A range of approaches to the setting of residential water use targets or goals was reviewed and the approach of using a regional residential goal, supported by individual Regional Council target is suggested to be the most appropriate for the Wide Bay Burnett region.
Rural demand study
- The department engaged consultant Psi Delta to conduct an assessment of existing rural water use and forecast demands over the next 50 years for the region.
- A number of scenarios for rural water demand forecasts in the region have been developed and a statistical model was used to predict future demand for the next 5, 15, 25 and 50 years by commodity and by sub-region.
Climate Variability and Climate Change Assessments
- The Strategy will consider the potential impacts of climate change and variability on available water supplies in the future.
- The Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence (QCCCE) is the State Government’s appointed expert body for climate change matters and has access to leading research and climate modelling work both nationally and internationally.
- The QCCCE has been engaged by the department to prepare a report on the potential implications of climate change and variability on available water supplies across the region.
- Key Findings for the Wide Bay Burnett region:
- Current projections indicate greater extremes in weather events (less frequent, more intense rainfall events throughout Queensland)
- Mean temperatures are estimated to increase by about 1.8 °C by 2056.
- Average annual rainfall estimated to decline by a further 52mm by 2056.
- Evaporation is estimated to increase by approximately 7% by 2056.
- Total water availability could be reduced by about 15% in 2056.
- Total urban water demand estimated to increase by 7.5% (increased temperatures, evaporation and reduced rainfall)
- Rural water demand estimated to increase by 10% (increased evaporation, reduced rainfall)
Water Supply/Demand Balance
- Urban and rural water supply and demand balances were completed including the potential impacts of climate change of available water supplies.
- Water balances were completed at a regional and sub-regional level.
- A Levels of Service (LOS) approach was completed for identified urban centres within the region (Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Gympie). It considered frequency, duration and severity of water restrictions in meeting the supply and demand balance of these urban centres.
- A workshop was completed on 18 September 2008 to work through proposed portfolio’s of options to meet the projected shortfalls for Hervey Bay and Maryborough.
- Water Supply and Demand Balance and Social, Economic, Cultural and Environmental Technical Working Group members participated in the workshop.
- Outcomes of the workshop assisted in determining proposed options for these urban centres.
- A preliminary draft Regional Water Supply Strategy has been prepared for discussion purposes to the Strategy Management Committee.
- Further consultation with key stakeholders is being undertaken on some key issues.
Last reviewed 23 March 2011
Last updated 19 December 2008