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.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

SEQ water grid - Ipswich no well for SEQ water costs: mayor

Brisbane Times:

Ipswich no well for SEQ water costs: mayor

30 May 2009

Ipswich may be the sticking point in South East Queensland's water reform process because it does not want to be saddled with extra costs to cope with population growth.

Ipswich City Council surprised fellow councils by yesterday rejecting the existing Council of Mayors alternative to the State Government's proposed model to get water to the region's 1.4 million homes.

The region's population is expected to grow from 155,000 to 340,000 in the next 20 years.

The South East Queensland Council of Mayors - led by Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman - had earlier won support from Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson for a new scheme to get water to homes.

Mr Robertson has given SEQ councils several weeks to investigate an option where councils would regain control of the final stage of the water grid - providing water to the homes.

The State Government has for almost two years held the position that a large company - would onsell the water to three council-run water retailers who would provide it to homes and business.

The Council of Mayors argue instead that that three council retailers could do the job cheaper and more effectively, without the need for a large organisation in-between.

Until yesterday morning Ipswich was understood to have supported this second case. However, its analysis of future costs show it would need to find almost $400 million for future water and infrastrasture.

Ipswich's analysis shows almost $2 billion in sewerage treatment and assets were needed throughout South East Queensland.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said Ipswich supported the distribution of water to homes being run by the councils, but said he did not want Ipswich having to pay more than its share.

"Two years ago, when the South East Queensland Regional Plan came out, the city put its hand up and said `hey we will take the (population) growth'," Cr Pisasale said.

"And now we're leading the state in growth with 4.2 per cent."

Cr Pisasale said Ipswich had taken the pressure off neighbouring councils, but now needed to protect itself.

"What we need to make sure is that the new model has got the capacity to deliver that growth - otherwise the people of Ipswich will be hit with a bill to handle all the growth in South East Queensland," he said.

Cr Pisasale said he had spoken to Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman yesterday and was happy with the Council of Mayors model - with some amendments.

"All I am saying is how is the model going to work so that Ipswich is not going to come to a standstill and have to fund all the growth?

"We are just asking the question. We want some clarification."

Meanwhile Scenic Rim Regional Council Mayor John Brent, deputy chair of the South East Queensland Council of Mayors, said he was "mystified" with Ipswich's new stance.

Cr Brent said Ipswich had previously supported having the retail and distribution arms of water supply run by councils.

See - Brisbane Times - Ipswich no well for SEQ water costs: mayor.


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