Drought resilience package for the Southern Downs region

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

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 providing drought resilience for Southern Downs’ drinking water supply. The drought resilience package includes the following activities:

  • early construction works to augment local supplies
  • investigative activities for the Toowoomba to Warwick pipeline
  • investigations into new water supplies and opportunities.

Water resource investigations

Southern Downs Regional Council is undertaking investigations into groundwater flow rates, sustainability and impacts on other water users to see if it’s feasible to develop new local bore fields for augmenting its local supplies.

Sunwater has completed testing the market for opportunities to convert irrigator water entitlements to town use and has identified efficiency and innovation opportunities to reduce water losses at Leslie Dam.

Progress to date

In October 2022, the Southern Downs Regional Council completed its installation of new pumps and switchboards so it can access a portion of the water from Leslie Dam that was previously below the level of the pumps, and couldn’t be reached (dead storage). Further work will be undertaken by Sunwater to access the remaining portion of the dead storage. This will provide additional supply during drought.

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

The recommissioned bores at Allora are currently being used by Southern Downs Regional Council for its road construction works. When the Toowoomba to Warwick pipeline is operating, this bore water will be blended with other local sources of supply and Wivenhoe Dam water to reduce take from Wivenhoe Dam during droughts and minimise operating cost for Council.

Seqwater has completed its investigative works for the Toowoomba to Warwick pipeline, and will continue working with stakeholders in preparing to move into the delivery phase of the project.

In November 2022, Southern Downs and Toowoomba Regional Councils voted in favour of proceeding with the pipeline.

More information

Last updated: 21 Nov 2022