The Toowoomba Region’s ongoing economic expansion is underpinned by a secure water supply, according to the region’s Mayor Paul Antonio and Toowoomba Regional Council’s Water and Waste Committee chair Cr Nancy Sommerfield.
Mayor Antonio said Toowoomba was being recognised as regional Queensland’s ‘miracle city’ for its economic vibrancy, but such success would not have been possible without long-term water security for the region.
“We learnt recently that Toowoomba was seventh in Australia for the number of ABN/ACN registrations during 2016. While this is being buoyed by the remarkable infrastructure injection underway, we must not forget the confidence created by a sustainable water supply,” Mayor Antonio said.
Cr Sommerfield said strong industrial and commercial development, which was boosting employment in Toowoomba, only proceeded when decision makers could be sure that water was available for the life of that investment.
“A community needs to have a secure water supply, not only to sustain the existing population, but to allow for growth well into the future,” Cr Sommerfield said.
“We live in such a picturesque region in Queensland but the reality is our location on top of The Great Dividing Range provides an ongoing challenge to Council around water supply, as every litre of water that comes into the city must be pumped uphill.
“We can never forget that during the first 10 years of this century, Toowoomba and the surrounding region were in the grip of a severe drought. At its worst, we saw our water reserves dwindle to just over 7 %. During this time our residents were subjected to the most severe water restrictions experienced anywhere in Australia.
“The State Government made a decision to proceed with the Wivenhoe pipeline in 2008, securing 10,000 megalitres of water per year for our community. This was instrumental in sustaining our region’s future and growth.”
Cr Sommerfield said the pipeline was designed to start pumping when Cressbrook Dam reached 40% capacity. Currently, Cressbrook is at 69%, Perseverance is at 43% and Cooby is at 52%.
“Currently, our dams are at a combined and healthy 61% of a total available storage capacity of 126,000 ML.
“Council continues to closely manage the region’s water infrastructure to ensure we maintain safe water for everyone on the network,“ Cr Sommerfield said.