Townsville City Council, in combination with Trility and Sunwater, has started pumping water from the Burdekin Dam.
General Manager of Townsville Water and Waste, Scott Moorhead, said with Townsville’s Ross Dam about to hit the 15 per cent trigger point.
Mr Moorhead said the pipeline and pumps have been tested and serviced and are ready to deliver up to 130ML of bulk water a day.
“Council has rights to 10,000 megalitres of High Priority water from SunWater which is expected to be sufficient to supplement reserves in Ross River Dam.”
Mr Moorhead said the volume of water pumped to the dam will vary depending on evaporation and rain.
“It’s important to understand that even with the pumping, up to a third of the 130ML pumped will be lost through evaporation, meaning the level in the Ross Dam will continue to fall.
“As a consequence we need to continue carefully monitoring water consumption and keep water restrictions in place until it rains and the drought breaks.
“Rain in the catchment will certainly be a bonus and may mean we reduce pumping at times lowering costs overall,” Mr Moorhead said.
The pumped water will travel more than 36km from the Haughton Channel, near Giru, before making outfall in the head of Ross Dam.
It will then have to travel a further five kilometres before it reaches the main body of water in the Ross Dam.
Council has budgeted more than $5 million to cover the cost of pumping water from the Burdekin until the end of the end of the 2017 financial year.
The pumps last ran between 16 November 2016 and 15 January 2017.
The pipeline was established in 1988 to provide a back-up to supplies in times of drought.