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The Rockhampton Regional Council has endorsed the recommendation for a potable water pipeline as a permanent water solution in Mount Morgan, QLD.

This recommendation follows a report presented at a council meeting on 8 March. A Preliminary Evaluation, completed by AECOM, was presented to Council as the first part of the business case that is being developed to address Mount Morgan’s long-term water security.

Rockhampton Mayor, Tony Williams, said AECOM undertook a comprehensive options analysis and modelling activities as part of this, with a potable water pipeline being the recommended option.

“The Preliminary Evaluation recommended a pipeline as the most viable solution to ensure water security for the Mount Morgan community,” Mr Williams said.

“A number of options were assessed as part of this process and the outcome was that the best, most economic option is for a potable water pipeline with a connection at Gracemere.

“We know the people of Mount Morgan have been wanting a pipeline for a long time, but we can’t just go out and build a pipeline; unfortunately it’s not that easy.”

Mr Williams said that the council must go through this process to partner with other levels of government, to give the council a better chance of receiving funding and making the pipeline a reality.

“We are doing this Preliminary Evaluation and subsequent Business Case because it is in line with the Queensland Treasury’s Project Assessment Framework – which is the key to justifying the project and seeking funding support from all levels of government.

“The Mount Morgan community have been battling a drought for far too long, and we want to make sure this is done the right way so they never, ever have to experience this again,” Mr Williams said.

Water and Environmental Sustainability Councillor, Donna Kirkland, said that Council is seeking support from other levels of government for the costs of water cartage and the next stages of the project.

“Council has already spent millions of dollars trucking water to Mount Morgan just so residents can turn on their taps,” Ms Kirkland said.

While the State Government hasn’t provided any support for this issue yet, it has committed to looking at the situation again once the wet season is over.

The council also has an endorsed advocacy priority to seek $3.5 million for a business case and detailed design to set this project in motion.

The current estimate for the construction of a pipeline to Mount Morgan has been estimated at approximately $40 million. Council will be firming up costs through the business case and detailed design stages.

It has been one year since the Mount Morgan community moved to Level 6 (emergency supply) restrictions. During this time, Council has carted water from Gracemere to Mount Morgan, which has cost Council around $4.5 million.

“We know that carting water is not a sustainable long-term solution, both for Mount Morgan and the ratepayers of the Rockhampton Region, which is why we are committed to finding a solution for the community of Mount Morgan that will continue to provide for many years to come,” Ms Kirkland said.

Divisional Councillor, Cherie Rutherford, said today’s endorsement was another important step in the journey for a long-term solution.

“The people of Mount Morgan have been through so much and we truly appreciate their patience while we work through this process together,” Ms Rutherford said.

“It is a credit to the Mount Morgan community how well they have done in the face of strict water restrictions. We know this is difficult, but it is so important that everyone comes together and this great work continues to conserve that carted water supply.”

Ms Rutherford said that the next step for the long-term solution of Mount Morgan’s water security is the business case. Council has committed $300,000 towards this and are seeking $500,000 from other levels of government to complete this work. From there, Council estimates it will be another $3 million to complete the detailed design, which will provide a comprehensive picture of what the project will cost and how it will be delivered.

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