Water restrictions loom as drought hits home
WATER restrictions are looming for the southeast after Queensland's largest dam fell below 50 per cent - its lowest level in a decade.
Wivenhoe Dam's startling level joins news the southeast's combined dam levels are now sitting at just 61.8 per cent.
It comes after a question on notice revealed numerous drinking water supplies across Queensland have just 12 months or less left.
Water restrictions could kick in mid next year for the southeast when combined dam levels reach 50 per cent if a poor wet season is recorded.
However a water consumption campaign will be launched ahead of this summer.
To compare this to the "millennium drought", water restrictions kicked in at 40 per cent in 2005.
Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said yesterday work was under way to ensure the Tugun desalination plant on the Gold Coast was ready to ramp up to 100 per cent capacity when the southeast needed it this summer.
"Over the past few years, we have seen less than average inflows into our SEQ Water Grid dams across the region," he said.
The plant has been contributing 10 to 20 million litres of drinking water to the southeast's supply on average each fortnight since 2013.
Mr Lynham said when dam levels fall to 60 per cent, the plant would supplement the grid and take pressure off dams during summer.
"As rainclouds fail to gather on southeast Queensland horizons, I encourage households, business and industry to start taking heed of the waterwise messages from Seqwater," he said.
More than 40 water supply schemes across the state have less than 12 months drinking water left, sparking concerns from Member for Warrego Ann Leahy.
"The situation is dire, with 14 communities projected to run out of drinking water by Christmas," she said.
"More communities are to join that list as sadly, the future rainfall forecast is not promising.
"Furthermore, communities in the Gladstone, Gympie, Isaac, Southern Downs, and Toowoomba Regional Councils, are at critical supply levels.
"Some like Cecil Plains and Miriam Vale have three to four months of water supply."
Ms Leahy accused the Government of kicking the issue "into the long grass".
"Queensland communities are on the edge of a water infrastructure cliff and the
Palaszczuk Labor Government has no plan to address the need for essential water and sewerage services."