Brett Otto at a recent conucil meeting. (Picture: File)
Brett Otto at a recent conucil meeting. (Picture: File)

Gordonbrook Dam approaching 50%, causing concern for Council

THE RELEASE of the Kingaroy Regional Water Supply Security Assessment has identified significant risks to water security particularly in relation to Kingaroy urban supply due to exhaustion of annual allocation.

In addition, the current level of Gordonbrook poses a significant public health risk if the council temporarily lost access to Boondooma Dam for any period of time.

Water quality issues will continue to increase as water levels decrease in Gordonbrook Dam with the council unlikely to treat water to Australian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines (ADWQG).

Mayor Brett Otto said Council has put water security and public health in the South Burnett at the top of their priorities.

“Council has been working collaboratively with the Queensland Government to review the level of water security across our urban supply networks particularly in relation to drought management and future demand,” Cr Otto said.

“While drought continues to cause significant impact on all water users, the ability for both Council and agricultural industries to access additional water has become critical for public health and economic security.

“The current level of Gordonbrook Dam poses a possible public health concern with the dam fast approaching 50 per cent capacity.”

Gordonbrook Dam is currently sitting at 51.1 per cent capacity. (Picture: File)
Gordonbrook Dam is currently sitting at 51.1 per cent capacity. (Picture: File)

The council sources its primary water from Boondooma Dam, Bjelke Peterson Dam, Gordonbrook Dam and underground bores.

Potable supplies are provided from these sources to Kingaroy, Nanango, Wondai, Murgon, Proston, and Blackbutt.

The council uses its water allocation from Boondooma Dam to supply the Toowoomba Regional Council Town of Yarraman.

Kingaroy sources its raw supply from Boondooma Dam and the council owned Gordonbrook Dam.

The water supply is usually blended 70:30 and the Gordonbrook content is increased from 30 per cent to 100 per cent when the Tarong Pipeline from Boondooma is down for maintenance.

Cr Otto said the council with the support of the Queensland Government and the Australian Government has a number of critical water planning programs underway to develop strategies for water security and sustainability over both the short and long term.

These programs include:

Maturing the Infrastructure Pipeline Program (MIPP)

Kingaroy Regional Water Supply Security Assessment (RWSSA)

Burnett Feasibility Study – National Water Infrastructure Development Fund

“The RWSSA shows that at the current annual demand of approximately 1400 ML/annum, water supply failures in the Kingaroy System may occur once in every 13 years,” Cr Otto said.

“Further, by 2029/30 and including the projected pork processing growth related demand, the likely water supply failure rate increases to close to 1 in 4 years with an annual consumption of approximately 1800 ML/annum.

“The probability of water scheme failure would continue to be exacerbated by a reduction in high priority allocation from Boondooma Dam due to drought conditions.”

Current dam levels across the South Burnett. (Picture: South Burnett Regional Council)
Current dam levels across the South Burnett. (Picture: South Burnett Regional Council)

Council requires an additional permanent 1500 – 1800 ML transfer of high priority water from Boondooma Dam.

The increased allocation would significantly reduce the public health risks caused by high THM’s by reducing the reliance on Gordonbrook Dam. The additional allocation would give the South Burnett region water security and reliability that is required to protect current employment and enable economic growth through developing industries.

If Council was to receive an increased allocation, Council would be able to proceed with the development of additional onsite storage at Gordonbrook Water Treatment Plant to store Boondooma water.

The water security for Kingaroy would increase from around 1 in 13 years failure occurrence to around 1 in 280 years or better with the acquisition of additional allocation.