The 4350water Blog highlights some of the issues relating to proposals for potable reuse in Toowoomba and South East Qld. 4350water blog looks at related political issues as well.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Toowoomba faces $112m bill for water pipeline ...

The Chronicle:

Region faces $112m bill for water pipeline

16 January 2009

Toowoomba will be left to pick up a $112 million water bill if Mayor Peter Taylor cannot pry more funding out of the State Government's coffers.

In October 2008 Deputy Premier Paul Lucas said the State Government would subsidise the $187 million Wivenhoe/Cressbrook pipeline to the tune of 40 per cent or $75 million.

Answering recent calls from the public, Cr Taylor said funding negotiations were ongoing and council was determined to minimise any cost impact on ratepayers.

“It is a very complicated and delicate process we are involved in,” Cr Taylor said.

“There are a number of parties involved and we are still in discussions with all those parties.

“We have approached the Queensland Treasury and the Premier in an attempt to secure more funding.”

Cr Taylor said it was important for residents to note that the pipeline project wass not in any doubt.

“We are committed to this project. It is the best possible source of secure water for the region.

“Securing a viable water source is extremely important.

“But we do want to secure as much funding as possible to minimise its impact on the community.”

Cr Taylor's recent attempt to secure Federal Government infrastructure funding failed. 

Toowoomba's dam levels were at 10.7% on Wednesday with Level 5 water restrictions in place.

See - Region faces $112m bill for water pipeline.

Probably still better than the $200-300 million that recycled water white elephant would have ultimately cost the city ...

54 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This pipeline is not about bringing water to the area but is all about taking water down to Wivenhoe Dam.

You can bet that our dams will run to the S/E and they will have gas water in them at some point in time.

We have a viable option with taking water from Norwin bore and at a fraction of the cost.

Taylor is nothing more than a lackey for the State government.

These Councillors have been proven to be liars because they deceived the public prior to the election on their stand regarding the use of recycled water. We have had a vote and the majority said NO!

In recent stories out of Brisbane it has been proven that the government would lie to us about the safety of recycled water.
This was one of the concerns expressed by the opposition to the use PROCESSED SEWAGE.

The challenge has to to put to this council that they must now debate with the community and listen to their very real concerns about the safety of recycled water because the government to put it into Wivenhoe Dam when it reaches below 40%.

Where does the LNP stand on this issue or are they merely prepared to stand by and not make a comment?

8:12 AM, January 17, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taylor is the wrong guy to negotiate with the state and federal labor governments. They will just tell him that he's on a comfortable salary and why upset things, better to do what they want and go back to Toowoomba and go to some meetings and get his photo taken and spend his salary. And he will do what they say. Someone to stand up to these governments, he is not.

2:33 PM, January 17, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You can bet that our dams will run to the S/E and they will have gas water in them at some point in time."

Isn't that a good thing?

3:03 PM, January 17, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marvellous - negotiating with a puppet

5:14 PM, January 17, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a good thing if they would just own up to the plan and the State Government should then pay the costs in full.

This city can not wear the $112M cost as we are already stretched paying for the amalgamation process.

Taylor is a stooge for the back room boys and nothing has changed since Thorley was there.
They all do what they are told and no debate will be tolerated.

Where is the government for the people and councillors who listen and represent us?

8:03 AM, January 18, 2009

 
Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

Estimated cost to Toowoomba Regional Council residents - $112,000,000

Estimated population within Toowoomba Regional Council boundaries - 151,283

Cost per resident - $740.

10:59 AM, January 18, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many people who could not pay that amount extra in a year.
Would people who do not get the water want to pay for it?
Many people living outside the Toowoomba boundaries have other reliable sources of water and do not require help.

Pumping water in from Norwin would not cost this much. It needs little treatment and it would not need to be pumped very high to get to the junction pipe to blend it with the Toowoomba water.
It would not leave the large carbon footprint either as the pipeline from Wivenhoe Dam would.

12:32 PM, January 18, 2009

 
Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

151,283 = every man, woman and child.

3:53 PM, January 18, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a mistake to assume that the capital cost will have to paid for in one year more like over 20 to 30 (like if a new dam was built). That's how capital financing works

To take bore water from Norwin with overland flow water to top it up (nice stuff that) to make the required volumes would mean shutting down the irrigation industry in the area. Who's going to give the irrigators the good news?

Not going to happen

PS: Fantasy to think there will ever be enough water in Toowoomba's dam to put water into Wivenhoe

10:25 PM, January 19, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely correct. Wouldn't be paid in one year. QIC financing to TRC repayable at low interest rates.

p.s. gas water pushed east to Toowoomba and down to Wivenhoe.

1:12 AM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read up on old news and you will find out that the irrigators were willing to sell off the water required to get the Toowoomba people through from their allocation.

It is still one of the best options and so is the coal seam gas water!!

No-one said that it would be the water from the dams to go to Wivenhoe Dam as they would be only the vehicle to store the gas water in and it would be sent to Brisbane's supply. Richard Cottee is very friendly with the Bligh government and he needs to get rid of his problem excess water.

This is the way they will take our dams from us you mark my words.This city paid for them and we want to keep them.

By the way no one thought that we would pay for the debt in a year but I remind the writer that experts now say that the economy is "buggered".


So where is the money coming from?????

7:41 AM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Richard Cottee is very friendly with the Bligh government and he needs to get rid of his problem excess water."

Richard Cottee is no longer with Qld Gas Co. Unless he's retaining water for some reason, he no longer has water problems!

9:57 AM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

experts now say that the economy is "buggered"

Not sure it's quite as 'buggered' as Access Economics says it is. Need to look at their assumptions and see if they are too pessimistic.

10:00 AM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous newswatch said...

Excerpt from Sunday Mail:

Water source is liquid gold

20 April 2008

A water source has been discovered that could supply parched parts of Queensland with billions of litres every year for decades.

The coal-seam gasfields being developed by the Queensland Gas Company in the Surat Basin near Condamine will produce enough water to meet nearly a quarter of Brisbane's annual needs for at least 30 years, the company's experts say.

For Queensland Gas, the water is a "waste product" that has to be removed to stimulate the gas flow.

But to a state hit by prolonged drought and facing increasing threats from climate change, it's liquid gold.

"Sometimes it's important to lift your eyes and look at the bleeding obvious," said Queensland Gas managing director Richard Cottee.

Billions of litres could be used to supply Toowoomba and rural communities west of the city – or piped to Wivenhoe Dam.

With only a tenth the salinity of seawater – "it's just brackish to taste" Mr Cottee said – the coal-seam water could be brought to drinking standard through filtration by reverse osmosis or other methods.

The company has already signed a deal with the former Miles Shire Council to supply the town with all its potable water for free. The council will build an 8km pipeline.

It was only in February that the full scale of the reserves was realised.

Once the gasfields hit full production, in about seven or eight years, a massive 100 to 125 megalitres of water a day will be pumped out – the same amount that will be produced by the $1.1 billion desalination plant being built at Tugun on the Gold Coast.

While Queensland Gas would own the water, Mr Cottee said the focus would be on recovering the costs of getting the water to where it was needed rather than exploiting it as a revenue stream.

"We are a gas producer," he said. "The water will be our waste product. It's ridiculous isn't it – in the driest continent on earth, water will be waste. It's too precious to waste."

Mr Cottee has spoken with Premier Anna Bligh about the potential.

One idea is to construct a water pipeline alongside the Roma to Brisbane gas pipeline.

This could supply Toowoomba and a string of drought-hit towns including Miles, Chinchilla, Dalby and Oakey.

The company estimates the cost of a 180km pipeline from the gasfields to the Garden City would be about $300 million.

But it would eliminate the need for the Government to go ahead with a planned $200 million pipe, which would pump scarce water the other way from Wivenhoe up the Great Dividing Range to Toowoomba.

Premier Bligh said: "If the water can be treated effectively and then transported efficiently, I would like to get this as drinking water to regional towns and Toowoomba.

"But this could also be an excellent source of reliable water for farm irrigation, cattle feedlots and industrial uses such as power stations."

Ray Brown, mayor of the Dalby Regional Council, said the water supply "would be a huge benefit for our region" boosting agriculture, mining and other development.

"I'm very excited. Everyone out here is on the edge of their seats at the moment.

"We've been in drought for so long and people have been down, but now everyone has a spring in their step."

Another option – particularly once a second field for Queensland Gas becomes operational, doubling the amount of water produced – could be to extend the pipeline to feed Wivenhoe Dam to help meet the needs of the southeast. The lower-quality discharge residue could go to Tarong Power Station.

The water, like the gas, is molecularly held within the coal and has to be extracted to break a pressure seal that releases the gas.

"This is important because it means the water could otherwise not be accessed," said a Queensland Gas spokeswoman.

"It is not in aquifers or groundwater supplies, but structurally bound inside the coals. So removing it will not lower the underground water table."

Up to 30 megalitres of water a day is already being extracted from the coal and stored in massive dams at the gasfields. The company expects that to rise to between 100 and 125 megalitres daily within five years.

10:13 AM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous newswatch said...

WHEELS & DEALS

14 Jan 2009

Over the line

The takeover of Queensland Gas Company by British energy giant BG Group is nearing completion, with BG commencing compulsory acquisition of QGC's remaining shares. The deal was never in doubt after the former British Gas acquired 82 per cent of QGC shares on-market, before a target's statement could be penned. Nevertheless, it must come as a relief for the acquirer after a long battle to get hold of some of Australia's world-renowned coal seam gas reserves.

The $5.6 billion cash offer for QGC was swiftly executed, proving once again that you don't look a gift horse in the mouth, especially in the current environment. That is just as well because BG Group failed to win over Origin Energy in quite the same way and in 2007, QGC played coy with suitors Santos and TCW before selling 30 per cent to AGL.

QGC has also faced courtship troubles of its own in the past, showing nobody is immune from being snubbed. QGC made an all-scrip offer for Sydney Gas in 2006. Sydney Gas is now, however, jumping into the arms of AGL Energy, which lodged its bidder's statement earlier this week for vastly less consideration, although admittedly that consideration is cash (AGL puts the pressure on, January 13).

The near done deal between Queensland Gas and BG Group is a victory for BG’s advisors JP Morgan and Mallesons Stephen Jaques. It is also a victory for QGC's shareholders, who after fending off the offers from Santos and TCW – in the range of $1.50 to $1.60 per share – reaped their rewards.

BCG's $5.75 offer meant a cool $97 million for QGC chairman and co-founder Robert Bryan, $28 million for CEO Richard Cottee and a whopping $302 million for veteran shareholder Dale Elphinstone. It was also good news for shareholders of Sunshine Gas, who had agreed to an $835 million scrip offer from QGC, before this was boosted by BG's bid. Sunshine's 23 per cent shareholder, Saudi billionaire Maan al-Sanea, saw his $200 million stake boosted to $360 million. As oil prices have returned back to earth, an Australian gas company may have been one of al-Sanea's better investments.

10:17 AM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch this space as I just heard on the ABC radio that the British Government is bailing out the Bank of Scotland again!
Rudd is considering another bail out package and some-one thinks that we might be being a little bit pessimistic.

The American economy is in deep sh-- and Obama will not save it but he might eventually argue for a world bank and for him to be the world leader!

10:36 AM, January 20, 2009

 
Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

QGC's water problem is now BG's problem.

10:38 AM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. What does the Royal Bank of Scotland have to do with Australia? Very little.

2. Australia's banks have some problems but nothing of the scale of subprime and derivative problems of the US and European banks.

3. Access Economics view is based on the Chinese economy completely falling in a heap. It assumes the Chinese government will not use public infrastructure projects to help their economy and create jobs. It assumes the Chinese government will be happy to let millions and millions stay unemployed.

4. Obama has no interest in a world bank. What is he going to do, privatise all the banks in the world? Can't be done.

Maybe a little less sugar in the tea might help.

10:46 AM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'experts now say that the economy is "buggered"'

Actually they said the federal budget was, not the economy.

"Australia will spiral into recession this year with a budget that's "buggered", the nation's key economic forecaster warns."

11:37 AM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No matter whose problem, the gas water is a problem and it has to go some-where.
It stands to reason that it could be sent to Toowoomba dams and then on down the mountain to Wivenhoe Dam.
It could be subsidised by BG just as QGC was prepared to do.

I wonder what office you are working out of?

11:40 AM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What office do you think?

11:44 AM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One that we pay for!

11:50 AM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would you think that?

12:15 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because you don't know what you are talking about and you are a smart arse.

12:18 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is too much money for the amount of water they will allow to be pumped up the mountain.
The community will not be allowed to water the garden!

12:39 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In what way exactly do I not know what I'm talking about? You'd be surprised how much I know!

12:41 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, if you want to water your garden, get a tank!

1:00 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More to the point the council should do their sums and realize that the pipeline to too expensive for the amount of water they will give us.

If they want to spend that amount of money build a dam.

2:16 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On WIN TV headline at 3p.m they announced that Toowoomba Regional Council are worried that they will not be able to pay for the pipeline.

2:20 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pipeline is coming. All that's left to do is figure out which set of taxpayers pay for it, TRC ratepayers or Qld taxpayers.

2:57 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That means that they will give away the dams and we will buy bulk water at the price the State government set.

3:25 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do the dams need to be given away? Why can't Toowoomba have its dams and pay for some of the pipeline?

3:31 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, we have a Council who have already said that they can not pay for the pipeline, so it only stands to reason that the government will do a deal and take the dams for the cost of the pipeline.

This has been their ( State Government) plan all along.

4:28 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TRC borrows the amount from QIC. Repays it over 15 years or so. Spread the cost among ratepayers over that period. Simple.

5:01 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @7:41 am not ALL farmers who would be impacted by the Norwin project were agreeable. And if you understand how the alluvial aquifers our rural cousins access operate, you will understand their angst

Gas sourced water per se is not a problem it's what's in it and what is left behind after you treat it that's the big issue. Ask the opinion of our Dalby Regional Council neighbours or are they required to make a sacrifice for the good citizens of Toowoomba without any consideration

Of course the Wivenhoe pipeline is expensive but THAT other option wasn't acceptable

TCC didn't pay the full cost of its existing dams either (subsidised by govt as will be the Wivenhoe pipeline to 40% - which applies to every other local authority in the state)

Toowoomba owning the dams only makes the balance sheet look good. The moolah is generated at the delivery point (ie yours and my taps and toilets) not at the dam.

Think about it

And a new dam would be in the same parlous state as the existing ones. And any water would still have to pumped up to Toowoomba

Bottom line - Toowoomba is in a bind unfortunately

5:32 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the same amount of money we could have a new dam and lots of water!
I suppose you are one of the " It might not rain again" people.

5:55 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

The coal seam gas water will need to be treated and piped to communities if the gas industry is to expand as Anna Bligh wants.

If the treatment of the water and its use for agriculture, industry and potable use is not made a priority, the gas industry in SWQld will wither on the vine and all those jobs will disappear.

6:14 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous newswatch said...

WIN News

Pipeline Saga

20 January 2009

Toowoomba Regional Council is banking on expected growth in the Surat region, together with higher infrastructure costs to lobby the State Government for a greater subsidy for connection to the Wivenhoe pipeline.

The Mayor's confident he'll be able to broker an agreement to help ratepayer dollars go a little bit further.

6:17 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter Taylor couldn't negotiate to save his life. Nice guy but absolutely the wrong person to be negotiating with the people in Brisbane and Canberra.

6:25 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

THAT other option would have cost somewhere between $2-300 million all up and would have most likely bankrupted the city although we would have been able to go out to Meringandan and gaze at the white elephant edutainment centre which would have been used by the recycled water companies at ratepayers' expense to advertise their wares.

All those involved would be nowhere to be found and, if they were, would be full of excuses as to why their project killed the city's finances but it wasn't their fault.

One thing should be clear - when those involved are dead and buried, those remaining will ensure that the history of Toowoomba records their ill-fated folly fully and completely.

6:54 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure that when the fight to stop the madness of Thorley, Flanagan and the Girls was going on Cr Paul Antonio must have had his head in the sand as he now tell us that we have no other options!

8:54 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting when people talk about the "problem" with coal seam gas water.
These same people need to be reminded that the processed sewage has a "problem" as it also produces salt and they also have to get rid of the solids.

We were to have large amount of salt pans out Merringadan way.
The cost of purchasing this land had never been built into the actual cost when it was proposed.
So it is easy to see how the cost would have run away.

At this point in time no-one in the State Government or QWC has explained where the Bundamda plant's "problem" goes.

9:15 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

In the NWC application, CH2M Hill offered up one solution to the recycled sewage waste - a pipe to the coast to dispose of it. That was a classic!

9:21 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going mad just talking to myself....

10:24 PM, January 20, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with that!

12:30 AM, January 21, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cost of a pipeline to the coast to take the salt "problem" away was no where near the cost of the pipeline they are to build from Wivenhoe Dam.
It must cost less to run it down hill!

8:08 AM, January 21, 2009

 
Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

Suggesting a pipeline to the coast was clearly just stupid on the part of CH2M Hill and made one wonder if they even knew where Toowoomba was.

9:23 AM, January 21, 2009

 
Anonymous administrator2 said...

@7:07am - spam comment deleted.

9:37 AM, January 21, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pipeline is going ahead. Springborg hasn't said he will stop it if he gets elected. Like that's going to happen. So the pipeline will get built.

11:54 AM, January 22, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Done and dusted

7:04 PM, January 22, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And in 3 months or so it will have processed sewage in it if Bligh has her way.

3:12 PM, January 23, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 3 months the pipline won't be built.

5:55 PM, January 23, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When ever the pipeline is built it will have recycled water in it because the Labor government is determined to make the S/E cornor of the state the experiment for the rest of the world.

9:59 PM, January 23, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the water will be going down to Brisbane.

10:37 PM, January 23, 2009

 

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