May 10, 2021
The cost of upgrading spillways and flood crest levels at Cressbrook and Cooby dams is so extreme it could damage Toowoomba Regional Council’s credit rating with Queensland Treasury, the Council has warned.
The repairs – recently demanded by Queensland’s Dam Safety Regulator – could also negatively affect the Council’s 10-year capital works program.
TRC issued the grim warning last week after officers calculated the cost of upgrading the two dams to meet new safety standards would exceed $138 million and could range as high as $182 million.
It follows a warning last week from the South Burnett Regional Council that new dam safety regulations would place an unworkable strain on its own budget.
Mandatory upgrades to Gordonbrook Dam had been estimated to cost between $12 million and $17 million, the Council warned.
Unless the State Government provided financial assistance, the upgrades could see water charges for South Burnett ratepayers almost double by the early 2030s.
Cressbrook and Cooby Dams are two of the three surface storages that supply water to Toowoomba.
The TRC would need to increase the width of Cooby Dam’s spillway from 69 metres to 100 metres and lift the dam’s crest level by 5.9 metres to safely pass 100 per cent of the regulator’s Acceptable Flood Capacity limit.
The estimated cost of this work would be $36.5 million.
Cressbrook Dam’s spillway would also need to be widened – from 20.3 metres to 65 metres – and the dam’s crest level raised by 2.4 metres at a cost of $102 million.
The upgrade works would need to be 65 per cent completed by 2025, with the balance completed by 2035.
Mayor Paul Antonio said the upgrades would “place an untenable strain and impact on the Council’s financial resources”.
“Currently, no funding assistance is available to the Council for the works,” he said.
“Council’s full funding of the works will have a detrimental impact on Council’s ten-year capital works program and credit rating as determined by Queensland Treasury Corporation.”
He has called on the State Government for a commitment to provide funding assistance for the upgrades.
- Related article: Council Fears Water Costs Could Soar