Plan promises no more water woes

By Josephine Gillespie

IPSWICH residents face the prospect of never having to bucket water again, thanks to the new draft South East Queensland Water Strategy.

Queensland Water Commission (QWC) commissioner Jamie Quinn, formerly Ipswich Council CEO, said under the 50-year strategy, south-east Queensland would never again face extreme (level six) water restrictions once the drought ended.

"The South East Queensland Water Strategy offers a responsible water supply guarantee to meet the future economic, social and environmental needs of the fastest growing region in Australia," Mr Quinn said.

He said the plan offered the first "holistic" overview of the region's urban, rural and power needs.

"This is the first time in the region's history that a strategy has been developed to provide certainty over water supply in south-east Queensland, even if there is another drought," he said.

"If implemented, this plan will ensure that residents will never have to bucket water again and face the possibility of medium level water restrictions no more than once every 25 years on average under severe drought conditions."

To develop the strategy, Mr Quinn said the QWC established a model integrating more than 20 supply sources, such as Wivenhoe, Somerset, North Pine, Hinze and Baroon Pocket Dams, Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme and the Tugun Desalination Plant and the future Traveston Crossing and Wyaralong dams.

All the supply sources will be connected through the south-east Queensland water grid when construction is finalised.

"The effects of climate change have been factored into the long-term water planning with a mid-range estimate of a 10 per cent reduction in supplies from dams and weirs," Mr Quinn said.

He said the recycled water scheme, which represented a large part of the drought-resilient supply, was conceived in 2003 by Ipswich City Council.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said the strategy secured the future for industry in the region and the city could be proud of its role.

The Queensland Water Commission is seeking input until July 31.

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