By Jeremy Sollars
Carting of emergency town water for Stanthorpe will cost $800,000 a month, the Southern Downs Regional Council has confirmed.
Mayor Tracy Dobie and senior council managers held a media briefing at the Warwick council chambers today – Tuesday 11 September – at which details of proposed emergency water supply measures for Stanthorpe were finally revealed.
The council forecasts that existing water supplies from Stanthorpe’s Storm King Dam will be exhausted by January next year at the latest, with ‘Critical’ level water restrictions of 100 litres per person per day having been introduced for the region on Sunday 1 September.
Cr Dobie today told the media the council has awarded contracts to 24 private water carting operators to cart water from Warwick’s Connolly Dam to Storm King Dam when Storm King’s supply runs out.
The road operation will require between 40 and 50 individual truck movements per day, with loads ranging from between 23,000 and 33,000 litres per truck depending on capacity, with an estimated 1.6 megalitres (ML) required to supply Stanthorpe with town water each day.
The monthly cost of $800,000 will be in addition to $1.7 million being spent on new water infrastructure at Storm King Dam to enable storage of he carted water and its transfer via pipeline to the Stanthorpe water treatment plant.
The new infrastructure – being installed now by Toowoomba firm Newlands Civil Construction – consists of two one-megalitre holding tanks and a new section of 280mm poly pipeline to take the water from the tanks to the Storm King Dam-treatment plant pipeline.
The new infrastructure is expected to be in place by the end of November.
Council officers today also confirmed upgrades would be required to Eukey Road and to the Storm King Dam access road.
Cr Dobie has previously stated she is confident the Queensland Government will bear the cost of supplying emergency water to Stanthorpe and the council has been in talks with the government in recent weeks.
The Free Times has asked Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to confirm or comment otherwise on the State’s proposed financial contribution.
The Premier is due back in Queensland from an overseas trip tomorrow, Friday 12 September.
Ms Palaszczuk has been in Switzerland this week meeting with IOC officials to discuss Queensland’s bid for the 2032 Olympic Games.
The Free Times has also asked the council to provide details of the private operators awarded water carting contracts.
Councillors at a special meeting held in Warwick on Monday of this week voted in a confidential session to award the carting contracts, with Cr Dobie confirming that some of the businesses to benefit are based outside of the Southern Downs Regional Council area.