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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Toowoomba dams almost dry (don't ask about the GAB water) ...

Toowoomba dams almost dry

By Peter Morley
29 April 2009

Engineers are racing the clock to link Wivenhoe Dam with Toowoomba's water supply before the Darling Downs city runs dry.

More than 125,000 people in the Toowoomba region hope a $187 million pipeline from Wivenhoe to Cressbrook Dam will be their saviour.

The 38km link is due to be commissioned in January, easing the situation for residents on level 5 restrictions that limit individual daily use to 140 litres.

All outside use of hoses is banned to conserve dams which have fallen to 9.7 per cent of average capacity.

Although the Garden City is green after rain over Easter, Cressbrook, Cooby and Perseverance Creek dams have been drought-affected for nearly a decade.

Reticulated water is being supplemented from shallow bores and the Toowoomba Regional Council has sunk five artesian bores which, if required, will cost $17 million to commission.

Toowoomba council engineer Kevin Flanagan said yesterday that if the pipeline was delayed by weather "we might run out of water".

"At the moment it is going to be touch and go," he said.

The fallback position was to commission the artesian bores, only one of which was ready to pump water into the system.

Mr Flanagan said it was heartbreaking that the average capacity of Brisbane's dams had risen to nearly 60 per cent through rains "that will just not cross the (Great Dividing) range".

Mayor Peter Taylor said homeowners had done an "outstanding job" in limiting consumption.

The "big question" was how the city and surrounding areas, including Oakey, Jondaryan, Westbrook and Highfields could pay for the pipeline.

The Government will provide $75 million and ratepayers will have to pick up the additional $112 million.

Cr Taylor said he had spoken to Premier Anna Bligh about a higher subsidy when Cabinet met at Highfields on Monday.

Ms Bligh said that 10 per cent of the pipeline was completed and daily progress was about 350m.

"The rest of southeast Queensland has had some good rain, but we have not forgotten Toowoomba's dams are under 10 per cent and the situation remains dire," she said.

See - Courier Mail - Toowoomba dams almost dry.


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