Water security or better described as insecurity is shaping up to be the most difficult challenge that we may face this century.
The securing of $84 million in funding to construct Emu Swamp Dam is a great achievement. Although the urban component of the dam is only 450ML which is barely 6 months supply of water and does not take in to account future growth within the Stanthorpe area.
“We need to refocus now on water security options that will deliver reliable urban water now and into the next decade” said Joel Richters.
“We will need to source at least another 2500ML for Stanthorpe and 7500ML for Warwick if we want to breathe easy”.
Traditional water security is in dams… but we need to broaden our thinking. Desalination plants only produce relatively low quantities of potable water but consume a significant amount of power.
Some European countries have been totally reliant on recycled water… that is taking used water and making it drinkable. In some instances the output is so pure that some natural minerals need to be re-added.
Whatever the mix of water options are for the future, we can’t discredit recycled water as being one of them. We may have be in a different position today had we made this change 10 years ago.
Labor built one of the worlds largest recycled water treatment plants in 2007 for $2.5 billion in Brisbane. The three plants that make up the recycled water project can produce up to 232ML of water per day. The only thing preventing it from producing water for us is public opinion.
I will be advocating for the inclusion of recycled water as a drought proofing option and will pursue for the infrastructure to do that here in Southern Downs.