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.

  • Lessons from the Millennium Drought

    2 days ago
    Md water usage

    Here in South East Queensland we are planning now so we can face what the future may bring. We know that with a changing climate, population growth and a water system heavily reliant on regular rainfall, that we need a plan for the future.

    As with all good plans, we’ve looked to the past to prepare. We don’t have to go far back in our history for lessons. One of our biggest teachers on how to manage our water was the Millennium Drought.

    It was the worst drought in a hundred years, and we learnt quickly...

    Here in South East Queensland we are planning now so we can face what the future may bring. We know that with a changing climate, population growth and a water system heavily reliant on regular rainfall, that we need a plan for the future.

    As with all good plans, we’ve looked to the past to prepare. We don’t have to go far back in our history for lessons. One of our biggest teachers on how to manage our water was the Millennium Drought.

    It was the worst drought in a hundred years, and we learnt quickly that solely counting on rain to supply the region with drinking water could quickly get us into trouble when the rain stops falling.

    We dealt with the lack of rain in two ways:

    Firstly, as a community South East Queenslanders played their part and dramatically reduced their consumption. Before the drought average water use was 300 litres of water per person per day. During the drought we reduced our water usage to as low as 120 litres of water per person per day by being waterwise around our homes, gardens and businesses.

    The second thing we did was build the Gold Coast Desalination Plant and purified recycled water treatment plants so that we didn’t have to always rely on rain.

    We also learnt that building infrastructure takes time and money and when you need to build quickly, it will cost more. So it’s important for us to plan now.

    The Seqwater Water Security Program is our plan for the next 30 years. It forecasts demand, our supply capability and identifies any new infrastructure we might need to meet our communities’ needs.

    Learn more about the plan here.

    Sign up for updates here.

  • Planning for the future

    14 days ago
    People   pyramid

    South East Queensland's population is predicted to increase by more than 2 million people in the next twenty years. Check out our Population Infographic

    We are planning for this increase in population and the effects of climate change through our Water Security Program.

    New water sources will inevitably be needed in the future and no single option, such as a new dam, desalination plant, rainwater tank or stormwater harvesting scheme, on their own, is likely to meet the
    region’s needs. We will need a combination of options.

    Each option and combination of options has advantages and disadvantages that we need...

    South East Queensland's population is predicted to increase by more than 2 million people in the next twenty years. Check out our Population Infographic

    We are planning for this increase in population and the effects of climate change through our Water Security Program.

    New water sources will inevitably be needed in the future and no single option, such as a new dam, desalination plant, rainwater tank or stormwater harvesting scheme, on their own, is likely to meet the
    region’s needs. We will need a combination of options.

    Each option and combination of options has advantages and disadvantages that we need to consider and make trade-offs to make the right choices for South East Queensland. Check out the video page for short videos on water source options. Understanding what each option involves means you can help us make decisions for South East Queensland's water future.
  • You can always count on long weekend rain!

    23 days ago
    Camping scene lo res
    You can always count on rain when it's inconvenient - long weekends, school holidays - even on your wedding day! South East Queensland has experienced some decent rain recently - particularly on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, which means dams in these areas are full or nearly full. Our combined water grid dam levels remain at 70%, so we will still need to be waterwise and prepare for the possibility of drought.

    You can always count on rain when it's inconvenient - long weekends, school holidays - even on your wedding day! South East Queensland has experienced some decent rain recently - particularly on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, which means dams in these areas are full or nearly full. Our combined water grid dam levels remain at 70%, so we will still need to be waterwise and prepare for the possibility of drought.

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

    2 months 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.
  • The Reality of Sharing Water

    about 2 months ago
    Timeline pipes

    It may seem strange that we are talking about preparing for drought when our drinking water dams levels are at 70% and some dams are even spilling! But the nature of South East Queensland's climate is some areas can receive lots of rain while others get none. We have a system to transfer treated water around the region so we can help each other out during dry times.


    It may seem strange that we are talking about preparing for drought when our drinking water dams levels are at 70% and some dams are even spilling! But the nature of South East Queensland's climate is some areas can receive lots of rain while others get none. We have a system to transfer treated water around the region so we can help each other out during dry times.


  • What you told us

    about 2 months ago
    Water what does it mean

    At the end of 2018, we spoke to residents of Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast and Noosa in a series of deliberative engagement forums.

    We recruited 120 people across the region and asked them to share their thoughts and opinions on how they value water and their current knowledge of how water works in South East Queensland. We then provided information about how water might be managed in the future - including desalination, purified recycled water, decentralised schemes (like capturing and reusing stormwater) and things like water restrictions and daily water use targets.

    You can read a summary of what the...

    At the end of 2018, we spoke to residents of Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast and Noosa in a series of deliberative engagement forums.

    We recruited 120 people across the region and asked them to share their thoughts and opinions on how they value water and their current knowledge of how water works in South East Queensland. We then provided information about how water might be managed in the future - including desalination, purified recycled water, decentralised schemes (like capturing and reusing stormwater) and things like water restrictions and daily water use targets.

    You can read a summary of what the communities told us here:

    We are currently holding forums in Logan, Scenic Rim and Gold Coast, and will also hold forum in Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley and Redlands in the latter half of 2019.
  • The Reality of Rain After a Hot and Dry Summer

    2 months 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.


  • Record water use over summer

    3 months 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?

    3 months 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?

    4 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.