Water pumping set to begin

Date published: 9 November 2017

Townsville City Council, in combination with Trility and Sunwater, is preparing to pump water from the Burdekin Dam early next week – unless significant rain falls over the weekend.

General Manager of Townsville Water and Waste Scott Moorhead said with Townsville’s Ross Dam about to hit the 15 per cent trigger point, pumping was expected to start on Monday.

“We are hopeful that rain will come, but in the meantime we can access water from the Burdekin Dam,” he said.

Mr Moorhead said the pipeline and pumps have been tested and serviced and are ready to deliver up to 130ML of bulk water a day.

“Council has rights to 10,000 megalitres of High Priority water from SunWater which is expected to be sufficient to supplement reserves in Ross River Dam,” Mr Moorhead said.

“Level 3 restrictions will need to remain in place though.”

Mr Moorhead said the volume of water pumped to the dam will vary depending on evaporation and rain.

“It’s important to understand that even with the pumping, up to a third of the 130ML pumped will be lost through evaporation, meaning the level in the Ross Dam will continue to fall,” he said.

“As a consequence we need to continue carefully monitoring water consumption and keep water restrictions in place until it rains and the drought breaks.

“Rain in the catchment will certainly be a bonus and may mean we reduce pumping at times lowering costs overall.”

The pumped water will travel more than 36km from the Haughton Channel, near Giru, before making outfall in the head of Ross Dam. It will then have to travel a further 5km before it reaches the main body of water in the Ross Dam.

Council has budgeted more than $5 million to cover the cost of pumping water from the Burdekin until the end of the financial year.

Mr Moorhead asked residents to remain waterwise to ensure the city stuck to its water consumption target of 100ML a day.

“The extended drought has taken its toll on everything and everyone and while we are hopeful of reasonable wet season, for now I ask residents to continue their good work in meeting the city’s consumption target of 100ML a day,” he said.

The pumps last ran between 16 November last year and 15 January this year.

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

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.

Level 3 Restrictions

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.