Ipswich holds out as water restrictions bite across Qld

THERE is no end in sight to Queensland's drought, with several regional towns now on the brink of running out of water.

The town of Miriam Vale in Central Queensland is one example. It has only 60-100 days of water left - for the first time in 17 years, locals are facing major water restrictions.

Closer to home, the southern Queensland town of Stanthorpe is also facing water shortages. The main dam is at a record low and at risk of running dry by December.

The town will soon move to critical water restrictions where residents will be asked to limit their water usage to 90 litres a day.

While Stanthorpe is just a two-hour drive from Ipswich, our city's water supplies are luckily in much better shape than our friends on the other side of the range.

Seqwater's Drought Response Plan outlines what locals might face if our dam levels continue to drop.

Ipswich and surrounding areas are currently being spared the misfortune of water restrictions because southeast Queensland's combined dam levels stand at 66.8 per cent.

A drought response for the area will begin only once the combined capacity of the area's drinking water dams - Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine - reaches 60 per cent.

On an individual basis, Wivenhoe stands at 54 per cent, Somerset at 76.3 per cent and North Pine at 67.9 per cent.

Three factors will come into play if the combined capacity of those dams falls below 60 per cent.

Firstly, residents will be asked to limit their daily water consumption to 150 litres a day for each person.

As a comparison, the current average daily residential consumption in litres for every person is 172 litres for southeast Queensland, with a similar figure for last year at 175 litres.

The Scenic Rim's current consumption is 130 litres and the Gold Coast 184 litres.

Another part of the drought response will lead to the water desalination plant on the Gold Coast moving to full production.

And finally, the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme commences.

This means treated sewerage will be recycled into the drinking water supply, although it is not required to be fully operational until combined dam levels decrease to 40 per cent.

If there is still no rain and dam levels fall past 50 per cent, residents will be asked to target to 140 litres a day.

Should dams level drop to 25 per cent, that target will reduced to 120 litres a day, with a target of 100 litres a day with levels at 10 per cent.

Other dams could also be brought into play in the event of a severe drought.

Lake Manchester is predominantly used as a recreational resource but, along with Enoggera Dam and Sideling Creek Dam, could be used as a drinking water dam.

These dams hold a small volume of water compared with the major dams and therefore would not dramatically increase long-term water supply for the region.

Major dam levels

  • SEQ grid total: 66.8 per cent
  • Wivenhoe Dam: 53.9 per cent
  • Somerset Dam: 76.3 per cent
  • North Pine Dam: 68 per cent