South east Queensland's drought response plan has been enacted as the region's dam levels sit at about 60 per cent capacity.
South east Queensland's drought response plan has been enacted as the region's dam levels sit at about 60 per cent capacity.

Drought plan enacted as we inch closer to water restrictions

SOUTH east Queensland’s drought response plan has been enacted as the region’s dam levels sit at about 60 per cent capacity.

It comes as Wivenhoe Dam drops below 45 per cent, which is one of its lowest levels in more than a decade.

Seqwater chief executive officer Neil Brennan said the south east’s two largest dams, Wivenhoe and Somerset, had not recovered from consecutive poor wet seasons.

Water restrictions won’t be required unless grid storage levels drop below 50 per cent capacity, which is predicted to be at least another wet season away.

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The drought response plan has been developed by the bulk water supplier alongside Urban Utilities, Unitywater and Redland, Logan and Gold Coast councils’ water entities.

Production at the Gold Coast Desalination Plant has now been ramped up to 100 per cent.

“While the Bureau of Meteorology forecast to December is indicating a wetter than average second half of the year, we need to take the appropriate steps now to preserve our key drinking water dams,’’ Mr Brennan said.

Urban Utilities spokeswoman Michelle Cull with mulch.
Urban Utilities spokeswoman Michelle Cull with mulch.

“The Gold Coast Desalination Plant will again be ramped up to maximise production and Seqwater will be operating the water grid to best manage our region’s water supply.

“The desalination plant has the capacity to produce up to 133 million litres of water a day or the equivalent of the daily water supply for almost 300,000 households.’’

Much welcome February rainfall increased grid dams to almost 70 per cent capacity but storage levels have been dropping since.

Urban Utilities spokeswoman Michelle Cull said it was important for everyone to do their part to save water and they didn’t need to wait for restrictions to come into effect.

She said water usage in the south east was at about 170L per person each day.

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“It is important people keep up their handwashing and hygiene behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are many other ways to reduce your water use,” she said.

“To help preserve dam levels, we’re asking everyone ‘how low can you go?’ when it comes to saving water around their home and garden.

“If you’ve already cut your shower time to under four minutes, why not try something new?

“Grab a bucket and pop it in the shower while the water heats up, then use that water on your garden.”

“If we all do a little bit now, it could make a big difference down the track.

“With the arrival of Spring, many people are spending more time in their garden and outdoor water use can start to creep up, so that’s an important area to watch.

“Simple ways to save water outside include watering before 8am and after 4pm, mulching to retain moisture and choosing water-wise plants.”

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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