Drought resilience package for the Southern Downs region

The Queensland Government is investing $19.34 million to provide reliable and lasting drought contingency supply for the Southern Downs region.

The drought resilience package for the Southern Downs responds to Warwick’s ongoing critical water supply issues. This package is being delivered in partnership with the Southern Downs Regional Council, Seqwater and Sunwater, and in consultation with the Toowoomba Regional Council.

While recent rain has bolstered short term water supplies, this package is vital to safeguard Southern Downs’ drinking water security. The drought resilience package includes the following activities:

  • early construction works to augment local supplies
  • pre-construction work for the proposed Toowoomba to Warwick pipeline
  • investigations into new water supplies and opportunities.

Early construction works

The Queensland Government is continuing to fund early works such as bore recommissioning, developing new bores, access to water below minimum operating level in Leslie Dam, as well as water treatment and connections – which can deliver up to an additional 13 months of water supply for the Southern Downs during drought.

Pipeline planning and pre-construction

The proposed pipeline would extend 109km from the existing Wivenhoe to Toowoomba pipeline and deliver raw water from Wivenhoe Dam to Warwick.

Seqwater is leading the planning and pre-construction activities, such as geotechnical investigations, surveys, environment and heritage assessments, and detailed design. The pipeline could connect with Cambooya, Greenmount, Nobby and Clifton, providing those communities with a secure and reliable water source.

Water resource investigations

Southern Downs Regional Council investigations into groundwater flow rates, sustainability and impacts on other water users will inform the potential for developing new local bore fields.

Sunwater is also investigating efficiency and innovation opportunities at Leslie Dam, including testing water market interest and potential to reduce water losses at the dam.

Project assessments

In 2020 Seqwater completed a feasibility study (PDF, 3.9MB) on options for a pipeline to deliver water to Warwick. The Queensland Government has directed Seqwater to complete the detailed design process for the pipeline by the end of February 2022, to ensure that the pipeline can quickly progress to construction if necessary.

Progress to-date

Southern Downs Regional Council has tested new bores around Warwick with good yields and water quality, and which will be integrated into the existing supply arrangements.

The recommissioned bores at Allora are currently being used by Southern Downs Regional Council for their road construction works.

Seqwater’s pre-construction activities for the pipeline are all proceeding to schedule.

More information

Last updated: 06 Dec 2021