South East Queensland
Significant water events
The total area-averaged rainfall over the South East Queensland region during the 2011–12 year was 1,143 mm, which is above the long-term area-averaged rainfall of 969 mm. Persistent heavy rain at the end of January 2012 across southeast Queensland triggered extensive flooding which continued in early February with further rain across the southern inland and westward-flowing floodwaters progressing across southern Queensland.
The wet conditions during the 2011–12 year resulted in the allocation announcements being 100 per cent for all entitlements during the 2011–12 year.Water resource management in South East Queensland has been undergoing significant reform since 1 July 2008. Phase one of the water industry reforms occurred prior to 2010 and phase two started in 2010–11. During the first phase four new, state-owned, bulk water entities were created for the South East Queensland Grid ( Restructuring).
The second phase of the reforms involved a move from council services to regional water businesses and the creation of three new entities providing water distribution and retail business from 1 July 2010:
- Queensland Urban Utilities (amalgamating water business for Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, Somerset councils)
- Allconnex Water (amalgamating water business for Gold Coast, Logan and Redland councils)
- Unitywater (amalgamating water business for Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast councils).
Figure A2 in the Organisations responsible for water management section shows the service areas for the three urban utilities, and the council areas they now cover.On 7 April 2011, the Queensland Premier announced that sections of the Queensland South-East Queensland Water (Distribution and Retail Restructuring) Act 2009 would be repealed, allowing councils the option of continuing with or withdrawing from the water distribution and retail businesses. A legislation amendment did not occur during the 2010–11 year.
In December 2010 the Queensland government made changes to the operating principles of the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme. Gibson Island Advanced Water Treatment Plant and one of the two stages of the Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant were placed into standby. The plants will be brought back online if surface water storage capacity trends towards less than the 40% trigger level.
- Gold Coast City Council, Redlands City Council and Logan City Council have re-established their own retail water distribution operations on 1 July 2012 (Allconnex Water, 2011).
- As of 1 July 2011, Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset councils have given their support for Queensland Urban Utilities to continue as the provider of water and wastewater services in their council regions (Queensland Urban Utilities, 2011).
- Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast regional councils announced in June 2011 their intention to retain the current arrangements for the retail of water distribution and sewerage services via Unitywater (Unity Water, 2011).
- On the 1 July 2011, WaterSecure merged with Seqwater, which is now responsible for managing recycled water, desalinated water, surface water and groundwater resources within the SEQ region.
On 17 February 2012, the Queensland Government passed the South-East Queensland Water (Distribution and Retail Restructuring) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2012 enabling Gold Coast, Logan and Redland City Councils to withdraw from Allconnex Water and resume the delivery of water and wastewater services to customers in their local government areas from 1 July 2012.
On 30 March 2012, the Queensland government announced machinery-of-government changes for departments. The functions of the former Department of Environment and Resource Management will now be delivered by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing and the Department of Energy and Water Supply. The Department of Natural Resources and Mines and/or the Queensland Department of Energy and Water Supply have taken on much of DERM's function including surface water and groundwater licensing (Queensland machinery-of-government).
- The Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA) was formed following machinery of government changes implemented on 3 April 2012 by combining portfolios and organisational units drawn from the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the former Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM), Department of Public Works (DPW).
- From January 2013, Seqwater was formed through a merger of the South East Queensland Water Grid Manager, LinkWater and the former Seqwater.
- From 1 January 2013, the Queensland Water Commission ceased operations. Its policy functions moved to the Department of Energy and Water Supply (DEWS) and its planning and regulatory functions were (including setting water restrictions) are now the responsibility of the new bulk water supply authority, Seqwater, and the SEQ council water businesses (distributor–retailers).
As of 1 January 2013, permanent water conservation measures have been ceased to exist in the Queensland (Water sector forum)
The annual flow during 2011–12 for Albert, Bremer and Brisbane rivers was above the mean annual flow. In contrast, annual flow in the Logan River was below the mean annual flow (Table W1).
|River||Period of record||Mean annual flow (ML)||2011–12 flow (ML)||2011–12 as % of mean annual flow|
The well above average flows in these catchments can be attributed to well above average monthly flow volumes and rainfall observed during January to March 2012 (Figures W1, W2, W3 and W4). The high flows during these months reflect the significant rainfall events that occurred during this period (see Figure C3 in Climate overview). These events resulted in significant river flows throughout the South East Queensland region. Figure P5 in the 'Physical section' shows the location of the Albert, Bremer, Brisbane and Logan river flow gauges.
Figure W1 Graph of total monthly flow along Albert River (Station 145102B) during the 2011–12 year compared with long-term percentiles
Figure W2 Graph of total monthly flow along Bremer River (Station 143107A) during the 2011–12 year compared with long-term percentiles
Figure W3 Graph of total monthly flow along Brisbane River (Station 143001C) during the 2011–12 year compared with long-term percentiles
Figure W4 Graph of total monthly flow along Logan River (Station 145014A) during the 2011–12 year compared with long-term percentiles
Major water initiatives
Major water initiatives were undertaken in South East Queensland, triggered by the 2006 South East Queensland Regional Drought Strategy (South East Queensland Water Strategy 2012).
Major water initiatives that were in the process of being investigated, designed, constructed or commissioned during the 2011–12 year included:
- Stage 2 of the Northern Pipeline Interconnector (NPI2) was completed in December 2011 and became operational on 6 July 2012
During 2011–2012 the following milestones were completed for Grid infrastructure ( South East Queensland Water Strategy 2012):
- The Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme, Gibson Island advanced water treatment plant was handed over to Seqwater on 13 October 2011. Final completion is pending based on some commercial negotiations.
- The Bribie Island project, to increase the supply of water from Bribie Island by an extra 5 megalitres of water per day, reached practical completion on 8 February 2012. Extensive groundwater monitoring systems and a management plan are in place to ensure the aquifer is not compromised by saltwater intrusion.
- Hinze Dam stage 3 (which increased the volume stored in Hinze Dam from 165,470 megalitres to 310,730 megalitres and increased the water available for supply by 7,700 megalitres per year) was officially opened on 19 December 2011.
Prior to the 2011–12 year the following initiatives occurred: (South East Queensland Water Strategy 2012)
- Wyaralong Water Treatment Plant Project (design 2010, construction 2011, commission 2012)
- Cedar Grove Connection Project (under feasibility investigation 2010)
- Development of the SEQ Water Grid (2008)
- Western Corridor Recycled Water Project (2008)
- Gold Coast Desalination Plant (February 2009)
- Southern Regional Water Pipeline (November 2008)
- Cedar Grove Weir (December 2007)
- Bromelton Off-Stream Storage (June 2008)
- Northern Pipeline Interconnector Stage 1 (2008)
- Eastern Pipeline Interconnector (2008).