By Jeremy Sollars
Stanthorpe residents were deeply touched by a convoy of trucks which rolled into town last weekend organised by Muslim Aid Australia (MAA), delivering around 130 tonnes of hay bales and 200,000 litres of water.
No less than 20 semi-trailers belonging to the Deen family rumbled down the New England Highway, as Stanthorpe draws closer to its town water ‘day zero’ – still forecast by the Southern Downs Regional Council to arrive in December.
Work continues on the installation of new infrastructure at Stanthorpe’s Storm King Dam to receive emergency water from Warwick’s Connolly Dam to ensure Stanthorpe has a continued town water supply.
The raw water from Connolly Dam – which has been ‘sequestered’ by the council for Stanthorpe’s use – will be carted via road tanker at a cost of $800,000, to be met by the Queensland Government.
Toowoomba firm Newlands Civil Construction is installing two new one-megalitre tanks at Storm King Dam to hold the emergency water and a new section of poly pipeline to connect the tanks to the dam’s existing outlet point. The Queensland Government is also covering the $2.4 million cost of the new infrastructure.
Filling points for tankers are being installed near the junction of the New England Highway and Kingsleigh Road just south of Warwick to enable the 24 private water carting firms contracted by the council to hook into the Connolly Dam water line from the dam to the Warwick water treatment plant.
This will mean the tankers will not need to travel the full distance to the dam along Connolly Dam Road and will have reasonably close access to the highway to Stanthorpe.
Warwick’s town water is forecast by the council to run out in “mid-to-late 2020” according to the council’s latest public water updates.
Short-term emergency measures for Warwick – which the council says will be explored before looking at the option of sourcing water from outside of the region – involve bore or underground water, but the council is yet to publicly give specific details about the location of such bores.
The council has said it is “investigating” bores at Allora and has also stated water for Warwick could be sourced from the Killarney town water supply.
The Free Times has repeatedly asked the council for details about its emergency water supply plans for Warwick but to date little specific information has been forthcoming.
What the council has said on the record is that bores located on road reserve at Gray Lane just outside of Warwick – off the Warwick-Allora Road near Lyndhurst Stud – have not been investigated “at this time as there is no allocation associated with the bores for the pumping of water”.
The bores are understood to have previously been used by the former Rosenthal Shire for urban water supply, and basic infrastructure remains in place.
It is also understood the council will hold a meeting this coming Monday 11 November at the Warwick Town Hall with Connolly Dam area landowners who have access to water from the dam for use on their properties but no details of the meeting had been made public at time of printing of the Free Times this week.
For the council’s latest weekly online water update, current as of Monday of this week, visit www.sdrc.qld.gov.au