By Jeremy Sollars
The Southern Downs Regional Council says carting of emergency water to Stanthorpe is still forecast to commence in December this year or January 2020, when useable supplies in Storm King Dam are predicted to be exhausted.
In September the Queensland Government announced it would meet the $800,000 per month cost of carting water to Storm King Dam via road tankers, with 24 private firms being awarded contracts for the job.
Raw water will carted from Warwick’s Connolly Dam and transferred from new holding tanks at Storm King Dam to Stanthorpe’s Mount Marley water treatment plant. The holding tanks and a section of new poly pipeline from the tanks to the existing Storm King Dam outlet point are currently being installed by Toowoomba firm Newlands Civil Construction.
The Queensland Government is also contributing $2.4 million for the holding tanks, new poly pipeline and necessary upgrades to the Mount Marley plant to treat the Connolly Dam raw water, which contains high levels of manganese.
In December 2018 Newlands Civil Construction was awarded a separate contract for construction of a new main pipeline, now completed, from the Storm King Dam outlet to the Mount Marley treatment plant at a cost of $4.9 million, replacing the old line.
In September of this year Newlands Civil Construction was awarded another contract by the council, this time for construction of a new recycled water pipeline from the Warwick wastewater treatment plant at Victoria Street to the Warwick Industrial Estate at a cost of $3.77 million.
At a council media briefing on emergency water for Stanthorpe held on Wednesday 11 September council officers told the media the “trigger point” for carting to start was forecast to be when Storm King Dam reached 21% of capacity, at 450 megalitres (ML).
As of Monday of this week, 14 October, the council’s weekly water update showed Storm King Dam is at 18.7% of capacity with 385ML in storage but a council spokeswoman this week told the Free Times the so-called “trigger point” was not exact.
The spokeswoman said the “start date” for emergency water carting to Stanthorpe “depends on the quality of the water in Storm King Dam as well as the water levels”.
“Council is constantly reviewing the water quality in the lead up to the predicted run dry date of December/January,” the spokeswoman said.
“The construction of the emergency water infrastructure at Storm King Dam is well underway.
“The project is expected to be completed by the end of November to allow time to trial all systems and ensure a smooth transition for pumping and carting water.”