As communities across Queensland continue to suffer through the drought, the government is exploring ways to top up supply in one of the most affected regions.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said work will begin on a $1 million feasibility study into contingency water supply options for Warwick and surrounding communities in the Southern Downs, including a potential new pipeline to connect Warwick to Wivenhoe Dam in South East Queensland.
Leslie Dam, which supplies the majority of Warwick’s water, is now down to 5% capacity. It is estimated the town has a maximum of 14 months of supply based on the current predictions of below average rainfall.
“With more than 15,000 residents and businesses depending on Warwick’s local water supply, carting water is not a practical option,” Palaszczuk said.
“That’s why my government will work with the Southern Downs Regional Council to explore viable solutions for the communities dependent on the Warwick supply.”
A pipeline from Wivenhoe Dam to Cressbrook Dam already exists to augment Toowoomba’s water supply in times of drought, and Palaszczuk said it made sense to explore whether it was feasible to extend network.
“By linking Warwick through Toowoomba to the South East Queensland water grid (SEQWG), we could significantly improve supply security to the city and those who depend on it,” she said.
Seqwater, which operates the SEQWG, will lead the feasibility study in cooperation with Toowoomba and Southern Downs regional councils. It will report back to the government on the preferred option by April 2020.
Palaszczuk said the impact of drought on the state was far reaching.
“It impacts employment across agriculture, retail, service and tourism industries and drives people away from rural communities,” she said.
“The Queensland Government is standing shoulder to shoulder with our primary producers and drought-stricken communities and we will continue to have their backs while this devastating drought continues.”