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.

  • Realities of Rain - In Any Language

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    Seqwater is acutely aware that the conversation we need to have with South East Queensland communities about planning for the future and the realities of rain may need to happen in languages other than English.

    As a first step, we have translated five of our key publications into Hindi, Malay, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Spanish (Latin American) and Chinese (simplified). Our research showed these were the six most commonly spoken languages other than English in South East Queensland.

    The translated documents can be found in the Documents section. We look forward to exploring new ways to share these resources with communities.

  • The Reality of Planning

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    Chennai, India has become the latest city to face a water shortage. With a population bigger than Melbourne and Sydney combined, the city has already reached 'Day Zero', where taps run dry.

    Water levels in its four major reservoirs fell to one-hundredth of what they were this time last year, forcing millions of people to line up at water trucks to fill containers of water.

    From Sao Paulo to Bangalore, Cape Town to Cairo, water authorities are grappling with how to manage water supplies amongst a drying climate and population growth.

    That's why Seqwater is planning now for your water future, to make sure there is enough water for everyone to live, work and play.

  • We can't always count on the rain... so please use water wisely!

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    As we head into winter, which is usually our dry season, with less than average rainfall over summer we've updated our Realities of Rain campaign to ask people to use water wisely.

    While we're not in drought, it makes sense to start preparing for the possibility and remind people to start doing those simple water wise tasks!

    • Water the garden before 8am and after 4pm
    • Use a pool cover
    • Check and fix for leaks around home, school and work
    • Don't leave the tap running when cleaning your teeth or shaving
    • Use a good mulch
    • Do full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher
  • Preparing for a dry winter

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    Did you see the recent ABC 7.30 report on rainfall and water storage in Australia’s capital cities? Across the country water storage levels in our capital cities’ dams are falling and limited rainfall is exacerbating this trend. In Melbourne dams are sitting at 49.7%, Adelaide’s dams are at 42.3% and Perth at 40.1%. Perth gets almost 50% of it’s water supply from desalination and its aquifers are recharged using purified recycled water. In Sydney water storage levels are at 53.8% and level one water restrictions will commence on Saturday 1 June 2019 for the first time in almost a decade.

    In South East Queensland our dam water storage is currently sitting at 69% and we’re preparing for the possibility of drought as we move into our drier winter months. For the past two months we’ve been asking you to be waterwise and consider your water usage in and around the home. Positively we’ve seen the average daily residential water consumption drop from a record summer high of 239L per person to the current consumption of 162L per person. If we can continue to be mindful of our water use as we move through winter this will prolong our water supply storage and delay the need for other measures.

    We know, however, that we can’t count on the rain to fall when and where we need it. At Seqwater we’re prepared for this reality and our Water Security Program is our plan to provide South East Queensland with safe and reliable drinking water even in times of drought. Using the Seqwater Grid and having assets such as the Gold Coast Desalination Plant and the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme provide us with alternative drinking water sources when we can’t count on the rain.

    Learn more about how we’re planning for our water future here:

    Get waterwise advice for in and around your home here:

  • Lessons from the Millennium Drought

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    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

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    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!

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    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!

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    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 or the waterwise videos on this site.
  • The Reality of Sharing Water

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    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

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    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.
Page last updated: 14 Jun 2019, 10:56 AM