Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio today will discuss the region’s future water security options with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack in Canberra.

Mayor Antonio and Toowoomba Regional Council CEO Brian Pidgeon will outline the region’s water saving initiatives and discuss a range of options around future water sources for southern Queensland and northern New south Wales.

“In addition to highlighting our household water-saving initiatives and the tightening of residential water restrictions, Council can show how we are investigating the integrity of our extensive water supply network,” Mayor Antonio said.

“There is greater scope to start using manufactured and treated water for industrial, commercial and some household uses, (for garden watering and in toilets) and save our precious drinking water supplies for human consumption.

“A meeting with fellow mayors at Warwick earlier in the year looked at numerous proposals for securing reliable long-term regional water supply options, including an inland diversion of the Upper Maryland River (at the head of the Clarence River system) to the Condamine River near Elbow Valley.

“Such a scheme was outlined in a 1981 report to the Water Resources Commission of New South Wales. This proposal would divert a fraction of 1% of the maximum annual flow to the Clarence River mouth.

“The drought is placing added stress on many water supplies, including the bore fields in the southern part of the Toowoomba Region. This has forced Council to cart water to Cambooya in the past fortnight, in addition to Vale View, Cecil Plains, Greenmount and Clifton.

“It is imperative that we seek assistance from the federal and state governments to provide regional solutions that also help communities across state borders that are battling a crippling drought.

“While the Wivenhoe pipeline offers the Toowoomba Region a secure water supply for the foreseeable future, we must start the discussions and planning now for new water supply sources for our long-term future.”

Mayor Antonio said the meeting was timely given the federal government’s announcements around the newly established National Water Grid Authority and its plans for water diversion and storage proposals among other future water infrastructure requirements.

Mayor Antonio said he would raise water issues that were discussed at the Darling Downs and South West Queensland Council of Mayors’ meeting before the recent Queensland Local Government Association annual conference in Cairns.

Today’s meeting was arranged by the Federal Member for Groom Dr John McVeigh.