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1 October, 2021

TRC asks for water security

Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) will write to the Queensland Government to request a Wivenhoe Pump Station upgrade and to seek funding contributions for future water infrastructure upgrades, including some to Clifton.

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi discussing the regional water situation with Premier Annastascia Palaszczuk, Minister for Water Glenn Butcher and Toowoomba Region Councillor Nancy Sommerfield.

As part of a Mayoral motion at the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 21 September, Mayor Paul Antonio called on the State Government to immediately fund the upgrade of its Wivenhoe pump station to the maximum pipeline design capacity.

The decision was unanimously endorsed after discussion by councillors.

TRC will also engage with the Queensland Treasury Corporation to model financial scenarios of upgrading the pump station at Lake Wivenhoe to increase its capacity.

Mayor Antonio said the Toowoomba Region is experiencing a period of significant growth and is seen by business as an ideal location for the development of new industry.

“Recent interest by investors suggests this may have a higher demand on water in the short-term,” he said.

“Toowoomba’s Wivenhoe pipeline has been critical in the current drought and is the only immediately available water source capable of providing capacity for growth within the Toowoomba Region.”

Mayor Antonio said TRC will be writing to the Queensland Premier seeking 100 per cent funding of approximately $25 million towards the upgrade of pump station and to relocate it above the Wivenhoe flood capacity level.

“In addition to this, we’ll be asking for the State Government to fund any further infrastructure upgrades that are required with constructing a pipeline from Toowoomba to Warwick.

"While Council has not yet considered its position on the Warwick pipeline, it’s crucial to myself and this community that if the pipeline were to proceed, that it has no financial disadvantage to our rate payers and no adverse impacts on our water security.

“The Warwick pipeline proposal has delayed our plans to connect the regional centres of Cambooya, Greenmount, Nobby and Clifton to Council’s Bulk Water System. 

“These towns are also facing a drought, just like Warwick however, while Warwick’s dams have now filled, our southern regional centres are still in drought with pressure on the aquifers remains.

"While we await further announcements on the Warwick pipeline, Council has drilled a Great Artesian Basin bore at Clifton to address short-term supply issues and to cease expensive daily water carting to Clifton.

“We ask the State Government to help pay for that bore and its water treatment as well as our water carting costs to Clifton.

During the discussion, Cr Nancy Sommerfield wanted to ensure the letter made clear that Clifton’s water supply is due to impurities in the water, not drought.

The Deputy Mayor, Geoff McDonald said conversations have already started with the State Government, particularly around Clifton.

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