CITY WATER RESTRICTIONS LOOM
TOWNSVILLE City Council will seek to pressure residents and businesses into conserving water in an attempt to stave off up to $ 300 million in infrastructure upgrades within the next decade.
And with the Paluma Dam at 54 per cent capacity and Ross Dam at 43 per cent – the lowest in nearly a decade – tougher water restrictions could be enforced by the end of the year.
The city’s thirst for water has led to the development of a 10- year plan to cope with the increasing demand on existing water infrastructure.
A key facet of the strategy is to change usage habits and reduce consumption, which is more than 200 per cent higher than that of other comparable cities in Queensland.
The council hopes reduced demand through education and water saving initiatives will defer expensive infrastructure works and extend the life of existing systems. About $ 300 million is expected to eventually be spent on infrastructure capacity upgrades, including a second pipeline to the Burdekin Dam and new water treatment plant in the city’s south.
Water and Waste Commit- tee chairman Cr Ray Gartrell said substantial additional infrastructure will need to come online as early as 2022 to meet increasing demand.
“While the council is progressing with plans for the future upgrades, the demand strategy outlines ways to engage industry and the community and get more out of our current facilities and services,” he said.
“The big benefit in managing and using our water reserves better would be delaying the need for the up- grades and the big cost that brings for our community.”
Cr Gartrell said the council would continue to lobby governments for funding with the infrastructure upgrades.
Mayor Jenny Hill said the council needed to carefully consider the strategy at the full council meeting on July 28 and make sure it encompassed the opportunities available in the Developing Northern Australia White Paper.
“If we are to open more areas for agriculture and irrigation, there needs to be a good hard look at future water requirements, particularly dams.”
Cr Hill said the council should make sure it was left with options to apply for a slice of the $ 200 million available in the white paper dedicated to planning for new dams.
A report on water restrictions is being prepared and will likely recommend raising the 10 per cent trigger for when the council would begin pumping water from Burdekin Dam.
Level 1 restrictions are currently in place.