The prolonged drought is forcing Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) to be resourceful in a bid to complete its scheduled road construction and maintenance program, particularly in the region’s southern districts.
TRC Deputy Mayor and Infrastructure Services Committee chair Cr Carol Taylor said the drought was posing additional challenges for Council’s road crews.
“The lack of easily accessible water, particularly around Cambooya, Greenmount, Clifton, Millmerran and Leyburn, has forced a re-think on how Council sources water for our road construction and maintenance works,” Cr Taylor said.
“The stresses on the southern town supplies means, that where possible, these must be kept for business and residential use.
“Council’s Infrastructure Services group is working with the Water Services branch to identify alternative water sources across our region to ensure that we do not use potable water on construction and maintenance works, where possible.”
Cr Taylor said Council was exploring the possibility of using private bores in the southern area that were not supplying potable water, for use on road works.
“Due to the costs of carting water and the forecasts for a hot, dry summer, gravel re-sheeting and some gravel road maintenance works may be restricted to treating safety issues first and foremost,” Cr Taylor said.
“Council is examining short and long-term options, including the installation of water storage tanks at designated locations to service work sites so we can deliver urgent maintenance works.
“While we can dry grade roads, it is less cost effective and not Council’s preferred option to continue this practice, as the repairs are short-lived and the road returns to its pre-grading condition faster.
“Other water conservation strategies include scaling back on landscaping that is to be performed and waiting until we have more favourable conditions to complete this work on various projects. We are also looking to have gravel delivered with additional moisture added to reduce on-site water requirements.”
“Before accessing water sources, Council reviews the effect it will have on surrounding water users and underground aquifers,” Cr Taylor said.
“Council will continue to work with our communities to mitigate the varying impacts that this severe drought is having on all of us.”