The Chronicle

RECYCLED WATER FUTURE

Mayor highlights treated water as a solution

- JARRARD POTTER

THE economic future of Toowoomba hinges on the region’s water security, and recycled water has been touted as playing a role.

An alliance of mayors from inland Queensland and northern NSW met in Toowoomba on Thursday, and Mayor Paul Antonio said recycled water and new dams were options that would be explored in order to provide water security for the Darling Downs and beyond.

“The most important part of the water cycle that’s pretty much untouched at the moment is recycled water,” Mr Antonio said.

RECYCLED water will play a part in the future plans for water security in Toowoomba and surroundin­g councils, according to Mayor Paul Antonio.

Mayors from Toowoomba, Western Downs, Southern Downs, Goondiwind­i and Lockyer Valley regional councils, as well as Tenterfiel­d Shire Council, met with state government Water Minister Glenn Butcher to map the region’s current water situation and assess future options to ensure the demands of regional growth can be met.

Despite previous controvers­ies in the Garden City around the use of recycled water, mayor Antonio confirmed that its use would be on the table.

“The alliance will look at all the options, including new dams and the use of recycled water in the water cycle,” he said.

“The most important part of the water cycle that’s pretty much untouched at the moment is recycled water.

“I know Toowoomba went through a pretty bad time with that, but there will be, down the track, recycled water available for Wivenhoe, it’ll be mixed with an awful lot of other water, and I would suggest that one of the things we can do here is get industry establishe­d around some of that recycled water.

“I think there’s an opportunit­y for all communitie­s to use recycled water on gardens and ovals and save high quality water for drinking and the like.”

Mr Antonio said water security was a top priority for many industries looking to expand into and invest in the Darling Downs.

Last week Mr Antonio called on the state government to immediatel­y fund the $25 million upgrade of its Wivenhoe pump station.

“I deal with a lot of people who come into town with a dream, a vision, and they’re saying they’re not sure about our water security,” he said.

“The ongoing success of the region is reliant on being open for business. Recent interest by investors suggest this may have a higher demand on water in the short-term.

“Toowoomba’s Wivenhoe pipeline has been critical in the current drought and is the only immediatel­y available water source capable of providing capacity for growth within the Toowoomba region.”

Mr Antonio said the pump upgrade was a simple solution for the short term, but more needed to be done to address fundamenta­l water security for the region.

Mr Butcher announced on Thursday the state government was investing $8.1 million for detailed design, surveying and geotechnic­al work for the Toowoomba to Warwick pipeline and $4.6 million in upgrades.

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