Toowoomba Regional Council has commenced operation of the Wivenhoe pipeline.
Following the completion of commissioning activities, TRC Mayor Paul Antonio said Council was sticking to its earlier announcement to start pumping operations from early April in line with Cressbrook Dam falling below the 40% capacity trigger point.
“Under our current agreement the pipeline can provide up to 10,000ML a year to our supply. By beginning operations now, we will be able to use about a third of this allocation prior to July when a new allocation will then become available, should we need it,” he said.
“The combined dam levels in Toowoomba are about 35.5% and although the allocation of water from Wivenhoe won’t fill our dams, it does provide our region with water security for many years to come.
“The recent rain we’ve received has been a blessing but Council is committed to providing long-term water security to our region and activating the pipeline is the first step.
“In addition to this we need to continue working with both the State and Federal Governments and all other interested parties, including the private sector and irrigators across the region on our long-term water security planning.”
The idea of a pipeline from Wivenhoe Dam to Toowoomba was first presented by a State Government task force in 2009/10.
About 10 years after it was first built, TRC Water and Waste Committee Chair Cr Nancy Sommerfield said the pipeline would now be used for its intended purpose.
“The pipeline connecting to Wivenhoe Dam is part of our water storage plan and acts as a fourth dam to ensure the region’s water sustainability,” she said.
“In preparation, testing and maintenance was performed as part of the recommissioning process and today we’re at a point where we can turn it on.
“The pipeline will provide water security for residents connected to the Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply, however we continue to ask everyone in the community to limit water usage to 200L per person per day.”
TRC Finance and Business Strategy Committee Chair Cr Mike Williams said Council set water pricing each year as a part of its Budget.
“Current pricing is set in place until the end of June 2019,” he said.
“Council will look to manage any additional costs through the usual budget processes with the aim of limiting impact on the community wherever possible.
“Unlike many other Councils, particularly those on the South East Queensland Water Grid, we own and operate our own extensive water networks that supply clean water to more than 160,000 consumers.
“Water rates have to reflect the true cost of delivering water and maintaining and replacing infrastructure for everyone connected to the network.
“Our water business consists of over $1.4 billion in infrastructure, which is in need of significant investment in renewal or replacement work.
“To ensure this is a responsible approach, Council is following a price path recommended by the Queensland Treasury Corporation after they conducted an extensive review in 2016 to ensure we are able to maintain and replace our ageing water assets in a timely manner.”
For more information on the pipeline visit www.tr.qld.gov.au/wivenhoe or contact Council on 131 872.
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