Lessons from the Millennium Drought

7 months 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 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.

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