Pumping to commence as Ross Dam hits 15 per cent

Date published: 15 November 2016

Water will flow through the Burdekin pipeline for the first time in 10 years from tomorrow.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said pumping would be initiated around 9am Wednesday morning with Townsville’s Ross Dam expected to hit the 15 per cent trigger point.

Cr Hill said water would travel more than 30km from the Haughton Channel, near Giru, before making outfall in the head of Ross Dam. The water will then have to travel a further 5km before it reaches the main body of water in the Ross Dam.

“Council has access to 10,000 megalitres of High Priority water from SunWater and an agreement for the rights to 110,000 megalitres of Medium Priority water, with the high priority allocation being enough to supplement reserves in Ross River Dam through to mid-2017,” Cr Hill said.

“Council has budgeted for a deficit forecast for a worst case scenario of $6.7 million to cover the cost of pumping water from the Burdekin until the middle of next year however, rain in the catchment and a reduction in pumping during the wet season will result in a much lower figure.

Water and Waste Committee Chairman Cr Paul Jacob said the pipeline would deliver up to 130ML of bulk water a day, safeguarding the city against another failed wet season. Level 3 restrictions will remain in place.

“It’s important to understand that even with the pumping, between 20 and 40ML of the 130ML pumped will be lost through evaporation at very low dam levels, meaning the level in the Ross Dam will continue to fall. We will still need water restrictions in place until it rains to see us through the drought,” Cr Jacob said.

“I ask residents to continue their good work in reducing water use, and help to meet the city’s consumption target of 100ML a day.”

The pipeline was established in 1988 to provide a back-up to supplies in times of drought.

The last time the city pumped from the Burdekin was in 2006 when the dam dropped below 5%.

The Ross River Dam has a catchment area of 750kms2 and a current capacity of 233,187ML.

Details of water restrictions are available on the council’s website link - https://www.townsville.qld.gov.au

Level 3

Level 3 restrictions ban the use of sprinklers. Hand held water 6-7am and 6-7pm. Odds and evens apply. Council Parks and Gardens irrigation is reduced by 44%.

Breaches of the water restrictions can incur an on the spot fine of $365 for an individual and $1,828 for a company.