Security of water supply is the number one issue for Townsville as the city’s primary supply fails to meet to demand.
The rapid growth in Townsville’s population has put pressure on the city’s primary water source – the Ross River Dam. When the wet season rains don’t fall in the catchment and the level of Ross River Dam drops too low, Townsville residents are subjected to both tough water restrictions and the cost of pumping water from the Burdekin Falls Dam. While Ross River Dam is more conveniently located for flow into the city, the Burdekin Falls Dam is a monster by comparison, fed by 71 rivers and 52 sub-catchments.
The Liberal National Government recognised the importance of the North Queensland economy and the crucial part water plays in future development by rolling out two major funding programs. The first is the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, which can be used to support the infrastructure needed to promote economic growth. The second is the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund, which is expected to provide significant investment in northern Australia. The Australian Government already has committed $2 million from this fund for a Feasibility Study on Hells Gate Dam, almost $2 million for upgrades to the Burdekin-Haughton channel, and $400,000 to prepare for raising the wall of the Burdekin Falls Dam.
The Liberal National Government also formed a Townsville Water Security Taskforce as part of the Townsville City Deal, announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The taskforce released its interim report in June, recommending a $200M increased capacity duplicate pipeline from Haughton Pump Station to Ross River Dam. The report outlined how this solution could be constructed within the next two years and how it would secure long-term water security for Townsville.
Other components of long-term water supply include increasing the volume of water available and options that allow gravity-fed delivery. A number of the stakeholders have been involved in discussions to date and deliberations about various options, including the taskforce, the Water for Townsville Action Group, the State and Federal Governments and also the Townsville City Council.
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Message from George
Lend your support to secure our water supply in Townsville.
In all the conversations I’ve had with Townsville residents in recent months, the city’s water supply has been a central point of most (if not all). Locals are feeling the pinch with the water restrictions and can see the cost of pumping water from the Burdekin is going to have an impact on their rates.
It is important that all possible solutions to the problem are considered and the best one chosen. Any solution is going to come at a very large cost and that will mean lobbying for funds. Fighting for Federal Government funds will be much easier with united support from the local community.
The Liberal National Government has demonstrated a genuine commitment to Northern Australia and, as North Queenslanders, we know development will mean water. That’s why commitments made under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund are so important. The Federal Government has already laid out some frameworks (the plan to develop the North, the water fund, the NAIF, and the City Deal) and the State Government has said it will commit funds to Townsville’s water security. Everyone seems to be singing from the same hymn book and it’s just a matter of getting everyone onto the same page.