The realities of rain

Could you imagine South East Queensland without water? It’s a future no one wants to see. Our climate is changing and our population is growing. So how do we make sure we have the water we need, and don’t run out?

The dams we use for drinking water have served us well, but they count on rain falling where and when we need it.

So, if we can’t always count on the rain, what do we do?

The conversation starts here. Take a look around, get involved and let us know what you'd like your water future to look like.

Could you imagine South East Queensland without water? It’s a future no one wants to see. Our climate is changing and our population is growing. So how do we make sure we have the water we need, and don’t run out?

The dams we use for drinking water have served us well, but they count on rain falling where and when we need it.

So, if we can’t always count on the rain, what do we do?

The conversation starts here. Take a look around, get involved and let us know what you'd like your water future to look like.

  • The Reality of Rain After a Hot and Dry Summer

    3 days ago
    Thumbnail   why dam take longer to fill after dry spells

    So over the past week we've had some downpours and some places in South East Queensland have already received their average monthly rainfall for the entire month!

    So why didn't our dam levels rise very much? (They went up 0.8%. At current consumption this is about two weeks' of water supply).

    Check out our below, but in short, when the ground dries out during hot and dry weather, it takes more rain to generate run-off into our dams.


    So over the past week we've had some downpours and some places in South East Queensland have already received their average monthly rainfall for the entire month!

    So why didn't our dam levels rise very much? (They went up 0.8%. At current consumption this is about two weeks' of water supply).

    Check out our below, but in short, when the ground dries out during hot and dry weather, it takes more rain to generate run-off into our dams.


  • Drought readiness - you can't always count on the rain!

    9 days ago
    458x458 waterwise website carousel 2

    It's no secret it's been a hot, dry summer.

    While drought is not inevitable, with the combined level of our drinking water dams hovering at 70%, it is time to start preparing ourselves - and our homes, gardens and pools - for the possibility of a drought.

    What can I do?

    • Use mulch or compost on your garden to improve the soil and retain moisture
    • Reconsider when and how much to water your lawn and gardens. Aim to avoid the heat of the day. Can some plants handle a little less watering?
    • Check if your shower heads, taps, toilets and...

    It's no secret it's been a hot, dry summer.

    While drought is not inevitable, with the combined level of our drinking water dams hovering at 70%, it is time to start preparing ourselves - and our homes, gardens and pools - for the possibility of a drought.

    What can I do?

    • Use mulch or compost on your garden to improve the soil and retain moisture
    • Reconsider when and how much to water your lawn and gardens. Aim to avoid the heat of the day. Can some plants handle a little less watering?
    • Check if your shower heads, taps, toilets and other appliances are water efficient. Choose water efficient products with a high-water efficiency rating. Do full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher.
    • Use a pool cover and check your pool for leaks
    • Don't leave the tap running e.g. when shaving, brushing teeth, washing fruit and vegetables
    • Check and fix leaks around the home.
    For more details check out seqwater.com.au/waterwise or the waterwise videos on this site.
  • Record water use over summer

    25 days ago
    Baroon pocket dam at 46 per cent capacity 10

    South East Queensland’s water use is at a record high following a hot and dry summer.

    January’s average water use was the highest since the Millennium Drought broke more than a decade ago.

    Water use peaked at an average of 239 litres per person per day, an increase of almost 70 litres a day extra than the average 170 litres per person per day since the Millennium Drought broke.

    And while it's not hard to see why water use jumps when the weather is hot and dry, it's an important reminder to be water wise as we move into the...

    South East Queensland’s water use is at a record high following a hot and dry summer.

    January’s average water use was the highest since the Millennium Drought broke more than a decade ago.

    Water use peaked at an average of 239 litres per person per day, an increase of almost 70 litres a day extra than the average 170 litres per person per day since the Millennium Drought broke.

    And while it's not hard to see why water use jumps when the weather is hot and dry, it's an important reminder to be water wise as we move into the typically drier months of the year and as our drinking water dam levels edge towards 70%, our trigger to begin the 'drought readiness' phase. More about drought readiness

    Our top water wise tips

    1. Water the grass and garden before 10am and after 4pm - avoid the heat of the day when evaporation is at its worst
    2. Check for leaks - many leaks are underground so you may need to use your water meter to check for leaks at home and in your irrigation system.
    3. A good mulch will help your plants retain water and reduce weeds that also compete for water.
    4. Use a pool cover on your pool to reduce evaporation
    5. Do full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher

  • Why can’t we pump all this water south?

    about 1 month ago
    Water level

    North and North West Queensland have been hit hard recently by floods. Townsville received their usual yearly average rainfall in a week.

    When it’s so dry here in South East Queensland, a lot of people think there must be a way we can transport water from areas where there is too much to areas where there is too little.

    Generally water is sourced and treated locally, as this is the most economical option, but South East Queensland can pump water to drier areas if needed. We call this the SEQ Water Grid. We can move treated...

    North and North West Queensland have been hit hard recently by floods. Townsville received their usual yearly average rainfall in a week.

    When it’s so dry here in South East Queensland, a lot of people think there must be a way we can transport water from areas where there is too much to areas where there is too little.

    Generally water is sourced and treated locally, as this is the most economical option, but South East Queensland can pump water to drier areas if needed. We call this the SEQ Water Grid. We can move treated water around the region using more than 600kms of pipelines. The grid is designed to move water from one part of the region to storage reservoirs in another to take pressure off local supplies during dry periods or transfer drinking water from one area to another when a local treatment plant is offline for maintenance. While we cannot supply all of the region’s water supply without local rainfall, the water grid can help move some water to drier parts of the region.

    Pumping water from north to south Queensland would be similar to the grid but on a much bigger scale. At the moment, with the technology available to us, the costs of pumping and storing the water such long distances make such schemes uneconomic, compared to desalination and recycled water.

    We will continue to monitor and investigate new transport and storage methods but for the moment, our plan for South East Queensland’s water future is to encourage everyone to be water efficient, wisely use the SEQ Water Grid and plan well for future infrastructure.


  • What is Realities of Rain?

    about 2 months ago
    Camping scene lo res

    We're starting a conversation with South East Queensland communities, about what we do when we can't always count on the rain.

    It’s been fairly dry over summer, and our lawns and plants are starting to feel the pinch.

    You can count on it to rain when you don’t want it to: there’s wedding day rain, long weekend rain and school holiday rain! What you can't count on is rain when we need it, where we need it.

    So Seqwater is planning for those times we can't count on the rain, and we want you to be involved.

    How? There's four...

    We're starting a conversation with South East Queensland communities, about what we do when we can't always count on the rain.

    It’s been fairly dry over summer, and our lawns and plants are starting to feel the pinch.

    You can count on it to rain when you don’t want it to: there’s wedding day rain, long weekend rain and school holiday rain! What you can't count on is rain when we need it, where we need it.

    So Seqwater is planning for those times we can't count on the rain, and we want you to be involved.

    How? There's four simple things you can do to become involved:

    • Register for Realities of Rain e-news
    • Book a realities of rain presentation - we're happy to come and talk to you
    • Take the Water Knowledge survey - you can find it on the tab next to Water Wise News.
    • Be water wise - while there are no conservation measures or water restrictions currently in place, there are some simple things we can do to be more water efficient around the home, school and work. Check out the Videos for our top two water saving tips!
    • Start a conversation with your kids, family and friends about water in your community. Do you know where your water comes from? How is it treated?
    We'll be talking to communities in the Scenic Rim, Gold Coast and Logan from now until Easter about what they want their water future to look like.
  • The Reality of Your Water Future

    5 months ago
    Crystall ball

    What is the Realities of Rain?

    The reality is we can’t count on the rain to fall when we need it and where we need it, so we’re planning for our water future.

    Explore the Realities of Rain hub for everything you need to know so you can be a part of planning – our interesting fact sheets, videos and infographics will explain all you need to know about the realities of:

    Our water sources – such as dams, desalination, decentralised schemes and purified recycled water

    Our environment - such as drought, climate change and floods.

    Our contribution – such...

    What is the Realities of Rain?

    The reality is we can’t count on the rain to fall when we need it and where we need it, so we’re planning for our water future.

    Explore the Realities of Rain hub for everything you need to know so you can be a part of planning – our interesting fact sheets, videos and infographics will explain all you need to know about the realities of:

    Our water sources – such as dams, desalination, decentralised schemes and purified recycled water

    Our environment - such as drought, climate change and floods.

    Our contribution – such as the Water Grid, how we plan for the future and how we can all save water.

    We’ll be continuing the conversation about the reality of rain and our water future around South East Queensland for the rest of the year and into 2019.

    Interested in hearing more? Book a Realities of Rain presentation here.

  • The Reality of Purified Recycled Water

    5 months ago
    Recyled water symbol 2   blue

    When rain doesn’t fall when and where we need it, we must look to other sources for our drinking water.

    The Queensland Government built three advanced water treatments plants to produce recycled water in 2008 during the Millennium Drought – one of the worst droughts in 100 years.

    The plants are not currently producing water for drinking but will be restarted under our Drought Response Plan. We will begin bringing the plants back online when the combined levels of our drinking water dams reach 60% capacity.

    So what is purified recycled water and how...

    When rain doesn’t fall when and where we need it, we must look to other sources for our drinking water.

    The Queensland Government built three advanced water treatments plants to produce recycled water in 2008 during the Millennium Drought – one of the worst droughts in 100 years.

    The plants are not currently producing water for drinking but will be restarted under our Drought Response Plan. We will begin bringing the plants back online when the combined levels of our drinking water dams reach 60% capacity.

    So what is purified recycled water and how do we produce it? Check out our fact sheet and videos to find out more!
  • The Reality of Decentralised Schemes

    6 months ago
    Footy field

    The name may sound different – but we’ve all heard of decentralised schemes. You would know them as rainwater tanks, re-using stormwater and recycling water for non-drinking uses such as irrigation.

    These schemes provide fit-for-purpose water for localised uses – but not for drinking. These schemes can reduce demand on the bulk water supply system, by providing water for things such as watering sports fields, flushing toilets and industrial use, that normally drinking water would be used for.

    But the costs and benefits of proposed decentralised schemes need to be carefully weighed up. Some schemes ended...

    The name may sound different – but we’ve all heard of decentralised schemes. You would know them as rainwater tanks, re-using stormwater and recycling water for non-drinking uses such as irrigation.

    These schemes provide fit-for-purpose water for localised uses – but not for drinking. These schemes can reduce demand on the bulk water supply system, by providing water for things such as watering sports fields, flushing toilets and industrial use, that normally drinking water would be used for.

    But the costs and benefits of proposed decentralised schemes need to be carefully weighed up. Some schemes ended up being decomissioned because there were higher operational and maintenance costs than originally anticipated, complexity in managing schemes and onerous regulatory requirements.

    Check out our video and fact sheet for more information.
  • The Reality of Desalination

    6 months ago
    5 ways to save water

    When you can’t count on the rain to fall when and where you need it, you need to start thinking of alternative sources of water.

    During the Millennium Drought, the Queensland Government built the Gold Coast Desalination Plant – a facility that can turn seawater into drinking water. The desalination plant runs in ‘hot standby’ mode – where we run it once, sometimes twice a week, to keep everything in good working order. We ramp up production during times of flood and drought, or when other water treatment plants are offline for maintenance.

    There are desalination plants in other states...

    When you can’t count on the rain to fall when and where you need it, you need to start thinking of alternative sources of water.

    During the Millennium Drought, the Queensland Government built the Gold Coast Desalination Plant – a facility that can turn seawater into drinking water. The desalination plant runs in ‘hot standby’ mode – where we run it once, sometimes twice a week, to keep everything in good working order. We ramp up production during times of flood and drought, or when other water treatment plants are offline for maintenance.

    There are desalination plants in other states too – Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Adelaide all have desalination plants.

    So how does it work? How much does it cost? How does desalination impact the environment?

    Check out our fact sheet and FAQs for all you need to know about ‘desal’!

    Still have questions? Ask us anything using the comments box below and we'll try to get back to you asap.


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  • The Reality of Saving Water

    6 months ago
    Watering garden with trigger nozzle  5
    The reality of not being able to count on it to rain when and where we need it to, means being ready to adapt our water use in times of drought and flood.

    South East Queenslanders have already done this during the Millennium Drought – we more than halved our water usage and it has not climbed back up to those levels since.

    No matter where you are in the region, it's important we develop good water habits so we have enough to meet future demand.

    But how do you do this?
    Check out our water saving videos or share...

    The reality of not being able to count on it to rain when and where we need it to, means being ready to adapt our water use in times of drought and flood.

    South East Queenslanders have already done this during the Millennium Drought – we more than halved our water usage and it has not climbed back up to those levels since.

    No matter where you are in the region, it's important we develop good water habits so we have enough to meet future demand.

    But how do you do this?
    Check out our water saving videos or share your best water saving tip ideas in the comments section below.

    Saving water in the garden

    Saving water in the bathroom

    Saving water in the kitchen and laundry

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