February 2, 2021
Toowoomba Council representatives met Water Minister Glenn Butcher on Tuesday to discuss the State Government’s $3 million water study for the Southern and Darling Downs regions.
Minister Butcher said the Southern and Darling Downs Regional Water Assessment would contact local stakeholders, including councils and the Southern Queensland Inland and NSW Border Regional Water Alliance (SQINB-RWA), to become involved.
“The Southern and Darling Downs water assessment will look at the financial, economic and social viability of a range of options in the region,” Minister Butcher said.
“Like a large part of the State, the Southern and Darling Downs region is also seeing an unprecedented drought, and this study will look at all opportunities to bring improved water security to the region, including bringing water from outside the region.”
The assessment is expected to include the controversial Wivenhoe water to Warwick pipeline, possible dam wall upgrades and the cost of water-carting.
The State Government had previously suggested the pipeline, which would link Cressbrook Dam to Warwick, could be operational by the end of 2020 but work has not yet started on the project.
The government has also been paying for water to be carted to Stanthorpe since January 2020 after that town’s supply ran dry due to the drought. This arrangement, which is believed to cost about $700,000 a month, was due to end this month but has been extended to June.
Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio welcomed the State Government’s commitment to the Southern and Darling Downs Regional Water Assessment.
“The Toowoomba Region will gladly collaborate where possible to determine the best options for our long-term water security,” Mayor Antonio said.
“I know the fellow members of the newly formed SQINB-RWA will welcome the news and I would anticipate that the new group’s chair also will be involved in the study in some fashion.”
The inaugural meeting of the water alliance – which consists of representatives from the Toowoomba, Western Downs, Southern Downs, Goondiwindi, Lockyer Valley and Tenterfield councils – was held late last year.