October 21, 2020
Kingaroy’s water supply is tipped to fail once every 13 years at current demand levels – but this could become once every four years if Swickers expands, South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto warned on Wednesday.
Pressing for Council to receive an increased high priority water allocation from Boondooma Dam, Mayor Otto said he was putting “water security and public health” at the top of the SBRC’s priorities.
“At the current annual demand of approximately 1400 ML/annum, water supply failures in the Kingaroy system may occur once in every 13 years,” Mayor Otto said.
“By 2029-30, and including the projected pork processing growth-related demand, the likely water supply failure rate increases to close to one in four years with an annual consumption of approximately 1800 ML/annum.”
Mayor Otto said the recent release of the Kingaroy Regional Water Supply Security Assessment had identified “significant risks” to water security, particularly in relation to Kingaroy’s urban supply.
The Mayor said the current level of Gordonbrook Dam (51 per cent) posed “a significant public health risk” if Council temporarily lost access to Boondooma Dam for any time.
Kingaroy’s water supply is usually blended 70:30 – Boondooma water to Gordonbrook – but the Gordonbrook content increases to 100 per cent when the Boondooma pipeline is down for maintenance.
“Water quality issues will continue to increase as water levels decrease in Gordonbrook Dam with Council unlikely to treat water to Australian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines,” Mayor Otto warned.
“Should Kingaroy continue to use Gordonbrook Dam water either in blend or sole source, corresponding reportable health THM (trihalomethanes) exceedances could occur and there is an imminent risk of a public health warning being issued.”
He said Council proactively informs the Kingaroy Hospital and local dialysis patients when 100 per cent Gordonbrook water is being used due to the potential that water quality could fail to meet minimum health standards.
Mayor Otto said the water quality from Gordonbrook was in “rapid decline” due to the dry conditions and water levels, in particular in regard to bromide – a trihalomethane precursor – and blue-green algae.
He said Council requires an extra – and permanent – 1500-1800 ML transfer of high priority water from Boondooma Dam.
“The increased allocation would significantly reduce the public health risks caused by high THMs by reducing the reliance on Gordonbrook Dam,” Mayor Otto said.
“The additional allocation would give the South Burnett region water security and reliability that is required to protect current employment and enable economic growth through developing industries.
“Council would be able to proceed with the development of additional onsite storage at Gordonbrook Water Treatment Plant to store Boondooma water.
“The water security for Kingaroy would increase from around 1 in 13 years failure occurrence to around 1 in 280 years or better with the acquisition of additional allocation.”