Council boosts water security and reduces costs

Date published: 11 December 2018

Townsville City Council is investigating ways to reduce pumping costs for ratepayers while improving the city’s water security.

Council has endorsed a proposal to explore selling or leasing unused water from the Burdekin catchment when there is no need pump water.

The Independent Townsville Water Security Taskforce recommended increasing the priority allocation from the Burdekin – which guarantees water for our city in drought conditions.

However, Council must pay Sunwater for the priority allocation to guarantee our city has water when the Ross River Dam is low.

Mayor Jenny Hill said selling or leasing excess water would offset the costs of securing water for our city.

“Council is implementing the Taskforce recommendations in full, however we are also looking to reduce costs for ratepayers,” Cr Hill said.

“This proposal strikes the right balance between guaranteeing water security when we need it and keeping cost to ratepayers at a minimum.

Townsville Water and Waste Committee Chair Cr Russ Cook said Council will make the decision whether to keep its water allocation annually.

“At the end of each wet season we will assess the dam level and predicted rainfall to help make our decision,” Cr Cook.

“When we get a good wet season we will not require our allocation and can sell or lease the water to recoup costs.

“Water security is our number one priority but we want to make sure we do it as cost effectively as possible for our ratepayers.”

Cr Cook said the local famers can also benefit from purchasing Council’s spare water allocation.

“With large agricultural areas around our pipeline, there is likely to be a high demand for any water that is available,” Cr Cook said.

“There is definitely an opportunity for a win-win if we can help secure our water when we need it and reduce costs when we have a good wet season.”

Council’s 3-point water security solution includes:

  1. The new 1.8-metre diameter pipeline
  2. A recycled water re-use system for public greenspaces and industrial use
  3. The Water Smart Package

The Queensland Government has contributed $225 million to water security in Townsville.