The South East Queensland Region

Overview of the 2012–13 year

The South East Queensland (SEQ) region is located on the southeast coast of Queensland. Its boundaries are defined by the New South Wales–Queensland State border in the south, the Pacific Ocean in the east, the top of the Great Dividing Range in the west, and the headwaters of the Brisbane River in the north. Mountains exist along the western and southern edges of the region, while coastal plains dominate the east. The main rivers in the region are the Albert, Bremer, Brisbane, and Logan.

Water in the region is primarily supplied from surface water sources. There are 26 major surface water storages in the region with a total capacity of almost 2,600,000 ML, of which Wivenhoe, Somerset, Hinze, North Pine, and Wyaralong provide more than 80 per cent of the total capacity. In the heavily populated areas around Brisbane, the City of Gold Coast, Logan City, and Ipswich, potable water is supplied through the SEQ water grid that connects water storages, weirs, water treatment plants, groundwater bore fields, and a desalination plant, increasing the region's resilience to drought. This is a distinct feature of the region's water infrastructure.

For the second year in a row, rainfall across the region for 2012–13 was above average. These rainfall conditions did not increase much inflow into urban storages. Essentially, the high water volume at the start of the accounting year (or 'carried over from the 2011–12 year') was further increased through 2012–13.  By 30 June 2013, the region's storage volume was at 99% of capacity. Closing net water assets in the region were 2,555,783 ML, compared to 2,479,700 ML at the end of the 2011–12 year. For more information on the region's water assets refer to Water accounting statements.

Surface water is the primary water source for the urban water supply system. For the 2012–13 year, the volume of surface water diverted for urban supply and the volume supplied to users were greater than that of the 2011–12 year. The water supply system received 224,420 ML from surface water, 158 ML from groundwater, 2,805 ML from desalinated water, and a further 24,514 ML imported from the Sunshine Coast (via the Northern Pipeline Interconnector) and North Stradbroke Island (via the Eastern Pipeline Interconnector). Furthermore, 17,549 ML of recycled water was supplied for urban use. 

The key water account information for the region during the 2012–13 year is presented in the following table. Information on the uncertainty associated with the volumes presented in the table is provided in the relevant sections of the account. 


Key water account information for the SEQ region during the 2012–13 year

Contextual information: Climate overview
Climate Overview 2012–13 2011–12 Long–term average
Rainfall: 1,151 mm Rainfall: 1,143 mm Rainfall: 971 mm
Evapotranspiration: 838 mm Evapotranspiration: 919 mm Evapotranspiration: 847 mm
For more detail on the SEQ climate refer to Climate overview.


Contextual information: Water overview
Water overview Brisbane River Logan River Bremer River
well above mean annual flow well above mean annual flow well above mean annual flow
For more detail on streamflow in the SEQ region refer to Water overview.


Water accounting statements
Accounting statements 2012–13 2011–12
Total water assets (as at 30 June) 2,567,936 2,491,853
Total water liabilities (as at 30 June) 12,153 12,153
Change in net water assets 76,083 261,401
Closing net water assets 2,555,783 2,479,700
For more detail on water assets and water liabilities refer to Water accounting statements.



Notes: Water resources and systems


Surface water storage
Surface water 30 June 2013 30 June 2012
Total capacity Volume % capacity Volume % capacity
2,593,703 ML 2,554,869 ML 99 2,479,671 ML 96
For more detail on surface water storage in the SEQ region refer to Surface water.


Water abstractions
Groundwater Total water abstracted
2012–13 2011–12 Recent activity
Surface water: 243,069 ML Surface water: 235,384* ML Groundwater abstraction increased 35%
Groundwater: 5,300 ML Groundwater: 3,925 ML
For more detail on water abstraction in the SEQ region refer to Surface water and Groundwater.


Urban water supply
Urban water system Total water supplied  
2012–13 2011–12 Recent activity
251,897 ML 243,213 ML High dependence on surface water
For more detail on the urban water system in the SEQ region refer to Urban water system.

 * Total surface water abstracted in the 2011–12 year reported in the 2012 Account has been restated from 228,317 ML to 235,384 ML in the 2013 Account.