SEQ water alert: Restrictions could be back by February

 

 

Southeast Queensland could be back under water restrictions as soon as February with the region's current dam levels dropping below those at the same time last year.

Despite recent rains, the combined total of Southeast Queensland's dams is sitting at just 61.7 per cent capacity, leading dam operator Seqwater to sound the alarm.

It follows a brutal 2019-2020 summer that saw the state ravaged by record-breaking drought across two-thirds of the state, dam levels across southeast Queensland fell to just 55.4 per cent.

Water restrictions are automatically put in place once dam levels fall below 50 per cent, which Seqwater predicts would be in February if rain fails to bring much-needed relief in the coming months.

"SEQ Queensland dam levels could drop to 50 per cent by the end of Summer if we experience a similar decline to 2019," an SEQ Water spokeswoman said.

Dam levels are about 4.5 per cent lower than this time last year, according water supplier Urban Utilities, with Seqwater revealing recent rainfall had not fallen in the right areas to fill the dams.

Pictured in October last year, senior dam operator Matthew O'Reilly stands in an area that should be covered in metres of water if Wivenhoe Dam was full. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australian
Pictured in October last year, senior dam operator Matthew O'Reilly stands in an area that should be covered in metres of water if Wivenhoe Dam was full. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australian

In the face of potential water restrictions, Urban Utilities has launched a new campaign urging residents to cut down on wasteful usage.

"We're encouraging everyone to be more waterwise at the moment, just so we can preserve those dam levels," Urban Utilities spokeswoman Michelle Cull said.

While the average southeast Queenslander was currently using 150 litres of water per day, compared to 203 litres in November last year, both Urban Utilities and Seqwater warned against becoming complacent.

Ms Cull said using a pool cover, reducing shower times, watering plants outside of the middle of the day and mulching gardens were all measures shown to save thousands of litres of water a year.

"As we head into summer, when water usage tends to tick up, hopefully people will be more waterwise," Ms Cull said.

Urban Utilities spokeswoman Michelle Cull said residents needed to be more proactive in conserving water. Picture: Urban Utilities
Urban Utilities spokeswoman Michelle Cull said residents needed to be more proactive in conserving water. Picture: Urban Utilities

A recent report published by Seqwater also noted water usage by southeast Queensland households was falling, calling the results "encouraging."

The Bureau of Meteorology offered another ray of hope, predicting a 71 per cent chance of above average rainfall in Brisbane between October and December, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

"This is consistent with a developing La Nina, which the Bureau's has assessed as being twice as likely than average to develop in the next few months," BOM meteorologist Greg Browning said.

Despite the forecast for wetter than average weather, BOM was also predicting hotter conditions for the southeast.

Originally published as SEQ water alert: Restrictions could be back by February


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