Drought resilience package for the Southern Downs region

The Queensland Government, in partnership with the Southern Downs Regional Council, Toowoomba Regional Council, Seqwater and Sunwater, is implementing a drought resilience package for the Southern Downs.

With no guarantee the drought will end any time soon, this package is vital to safeguard the future of the Southern Downs’ drinking water security.

About the drought resilience package

The drought resilience package includes an initial $19.34 million for the following immediate activities:

  • early construction works to access local bore fields (including enhanced water treatment), transition industry away from town water and draw water from below Leslie Dam’s minimum operating level
  • detailed design and pre-construction work for the Toowoomba to Warwick pipeline
  • investigations into the potential to access groundwater resources in the region, including around Stanthorpe
  • investigations into efficiency and innovation opportunities at Leslie Dam (e.g. water markets, evaporation and losses).

Early construction works

The Queensland Government is continuing to fund early works such as bore recommissioning, connection to reticulation and water treatment at Allora to provide additional supply as soon as possible.

To reduce the take on Leslie Dam and extend the town’s water supply, Southern Downs Regional Council is also looking into the potential for industry to use groundwater as a substitute where possible.

Other emergency measures will be funded by the Queensland Government to access and treat the water below minimum operating level in Leslie Dam.

Pipeline planning and pre-construction works

To ensure we are ready to respond if the drought conditions persist, the proposed Toowoomba to Warwick Pipeline will be progressed to a stage where the project is ready to commence construction, including final design, approvals and geotechnical and site surveys.

Water resource investigations

Investigations into groundwater flow rates, sustainability and impacts on other water users will commence to better understand groundwater resources and the potential for developing new bore fields, including around Stanthorpe.

Sunwater will also investigate efficiency and innovation opportunities at Leslie Dam, including testing water market interest and looking to reduce water losses at the dam.

Project assessments

In 2019 Seqwater began a feasibility study on the options for the construction of a pipeline to deliver water from Toowoomba to Warwick.

The raw water pipeline option from Toowoomba to Warwick has been selected to be taken forward to the detailed design stage.

More information

Last updated: 23 Apr 2021