DROUGHT RESPONSE: Ipswich resident Ross Woodford gives his plants some much-needed respite from a dry spell.
DROUGHT RESPONSE: Ipswich resident Ross Woodford gives his plants some much-needed respite from a dry spell.

Brisbane, Gold Coast look to waterwise Ipswich

DESPITE an enduring dry spell and recent concern over dropping dam levels, the region's water supply authority says it would be at least another two years before mandatory water restrictions would be enacted.

Domestic water use has slowly risen across south-east Queensland over the past year, although Ipswich residents were still using significantly less water than their Brisbane and Gold Coast counterparts.

Seqwater spokesman Mike Foster said the combined dam levels for the region's 12 major dams was 72.8%.

While Seqwater has developed a Drought Response Plan, which is implemented when storage levels reach 70% capacity, that plan will not include the introduction of mandatory water restrictions at this stage.

"Given our current dam levels, and our ability to move water around the region with the SEQ Water Grid, we are not likely to have to consider formal, mandatory water restrictions for up to another two wet seasons," Mr Foster said.

"Formal, mandatory water restrictions will be implemented when combined dam levels reach 50% capacity."

Water use across south-east Queensland increased on average 25-30 litres a person a day this winter compared to last winter.

The regional average use was 185 litres a person a day, compared to 156 litres per person last year.

"While we have seen a spike in use it is still far below the pre millennium drought average use of 300 litres a person a day," Mr Foster said.

"The nature of the south-east Queensland climate means we all should be water wise and south-east Queenslanders on average continue to be water wise."

If and when dam levels drop below 70%, Seqwater will begin a public education phase to encourage increased water efficiency.

At 60% capacity, voluntary water conservation measures will be implemented encouraging the community to limit its water use to 150 litres a person a day.

At the same time, Seqwater will increase production of the Gold Coast Desalination Plant and commence the re-commissioning of the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme.

The current forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology is indicating a likelihood of another dry, hot summer, although it is also forecasting the potential for above average rainfall this spring.



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