Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) has published its Toowoomba Regional Council Water Vision 2050, outlining how the water demands of the growing region will be met over the next 30 years.
TRC Water and Waste Committee Chair Councillor, Rebecca Vonhoff, said the document was commissioned by TRC, to independent consultants Engeny Water Supply, and is an overview of water supply, challenges and opportunities for the region.
“This is an important document which highlights just how much work is needed to secure water security for our region,” Ms Vonhoff said.
“We need to be focused on the long term. We need to think of people, jobs and the land.
“In total, 48 options were identified including ideas such as new pipelines, cloud seeding, recycled water, building new dams, raising dam walls and sourcing water from dams outside the boundaries of our region.
“The options were assessed in terms of cost and if a yield could be calculated.
“This report made two things clear to me. Firstly, that we need state and federal funding for water infrastructure.
“This report shows how limited our options are if they don’t support us financially. Our pockets are simply not deep enough.
“Secondly, that we have until as soon as 2022 to upgrade the Mount Kynoch Water Treatment Plant so we have to act quickly, but with the utmost care given how critical the plant is to providing safe drinking water.”
As part of the Water Vision, three key actions were identified as priority items for Council to undertake. These include:
- Continue to utilise Mount Kynoch Water Treatment Plant as the central treatment facility. An interim upgrade to Mount Kynoch Water Treatment Plant is required to increase capacity of the water treatment plant
- Seek amendment to the existing Cressbrook Creek Water Supply Scheme Operations Manual with modification to the resource entitlement volumes (up to 20,000ML/a from 14,000ML/a) as well as upgrades to the Cressbrook raw water pump station and changes to the operating rules for the Wivenhoe to Cressbrook raw water pipeline to allow operation of the pipeline at a higher initial level in Cressbrook Dam
- Negotiate with Seqwater to ensure the increase extraction volumes from Wivenhoe (up to 14,000ML/a from 10,000ML/a) are available
“It is important to note that this document does not take into account an idea for a southern pipeline which was raised by the State Government in late 2019,” Ms Vonhoff said.
“We continue to ask for more information from the State Government before Councillors consider their support or opposition to the pipeline project.
“It is recommended that the next version of Water Vision targets completion in 2022 by when we would expect more clarity from the State Government.
“Council is responsible for the supply of drinking water to eleven townships that are not connected to the bulk water supply system.
“Connection to the bulk water supply system is planned for five of these rural towns – Cambooya, Greenmount, Nobby, Clifton and Vale View.
“We will continue to add new elements to the Water Vision and will be refining the document on a five year cycle with the next version in 2022, unless there are triggers that warrant an earlier review.”
The Toowoomba Regional Council Water Vision 2050 will now go before Council for consideration at the Ordinary Meeting on 15 December 2020.