Significant population growth in many major urban centres across Queensland continues to place pressure on regional water supplies.
Water security for South East Queensland (SEQ) is facilitated by:
SEQ is the only region in Queensland where desired LOS objectives are mandated by the State Government, by prescription in the Water Regulation 2002. This is due to the bulk water supply system being owned by the State Government, and there is the potential for very high concentrated economic impact if the region runs out of water. Outside of SEQ desired LOS objectives are not mandated, but local councils and water service providers are encouraged to develop and plan for their own desired LOS objectives.
Working in partnership with water service providers, the Queensland Government, over the next three years, will undertake regional water supply security assessments for potential high-growth regions. The assessments are seeking to provide a regional context of water supply security and develop a shared understanding of the potential water supply security risks the community faces.
The assessments will forecast water demand for various population growth scenarios, taking into account water availability, reliability and multiple water users—such as urban and agriculture— sharing the same resource. The effects of changing climate conditions, including drought will also be considered. This work program will help water service providers to better understand their water supply system and associated risks. Water service providers will be responsible for consulting, determining and implementing water supply solutions for their communities.
Water service providers will then be able to engage with their communities to consider the long term level of service to be provided and what that means for infrastructure solutions, as well as demand management and water efficiency as part of an overall solution.
Four regions have initially been chosen to be rolled out this year. Rockhampton, Townsville and Cairns were chosen due to their potential growth. Mt Isa was selected based on recognition of potential growth against water supply capability in an arid area. Other regions will be included over time.