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 Drought

    4 months ago
    Drought   2
    ‘I love a sunburnt country…a land of sweeping plains… of ragged mountain ranges… of droughts and flooding rains’ is a familiar refrain to many of us.

    South East Queensland has a climate of extremes – from storms and floods, to heatwaves and droughts.
    The reality is that another drought will happen in South East Queensland.

    While we are one region, dry conditions may persist in a part of our region – such as right now, in the Lockyer Valley, while others enjoy healthy dam levels – such as the Gold Coast.

    We may need to tailor our operational response...

    ‘I love a sunburnt country…a land of sweeping plains… of ragged mountain ranges… of droughts and flooding rains’ is a familiar refrain to many of us.

    South East Queensland has a climate of extremes – from storms and floods, to heatwaves and droughts.
    The reality is that another drought will happen in South East Queensland.

    While we are one region, dry conditions may persist in a part of our region – such as right now, in the Lockyer Valley, while others enjoy healthy dam levels – such as the Gold Coast.

    We may need to tailor our operational response to particular sub-regions, given the combinations of water sources they have and the ability of the SEQ Water Grid to move water to that sub-region.

    CASE STUDY: SUNSHINE COAST
    Our focus was drawn to the northern sub-region in 2017 after it experienced a second failed wet season in 2016-17, which was unusual. The two main major storages in the northern sub-region are Baroon Pocket Dam and North Pine Dam. From 2015, Baroon Pocket Dam and North Pine Dam were progressively drawn down as rainfall was insufficient to fully replenish them. The northern sub-region also relies on Ewen Maddock, Cooloolabin, Wappa and Lake Macdonald dams.

    • Baroon Pocket Dam is a relatively small storage with a volume of 61,000ML (equivalent to only 5% of the Wivenhoe Dam storage volume). The catchment that contributes flows to Baroon Pocket Dam has been a reliable source, historically using about 60% of its capacity each year.
    • The size and nature of Baroon Pocket Dam means that extended drought conditions can result in a decline of water levels and very limited time to implement contingency measures.
    • North Pine Dam has a larger storage with a volume of 214,000ML compared to Baroon Pocket Dam (equivalent to 18% of the Wivenhoe Dam storage volume).
    A key consideration for water supply in the northern sub-region is the time required to implement contingency measures in the event of extended drought conditions.

    The southern sub-region can access the Gold Coast Desalination Plant, while the central sub-region can use the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme.

    The recent dry period has highlighted the vulnerability of the water storages in the northern sub-region to drought without appropriate water transfers from the central to the northern sub-region via the SEQ Water Grid. In 2017, the grid was used to transfer water to the Northern sub-region, supplementing the sub-regions local water supply. Seqwater continues to operate the grid in this manner. While the grid is able to provide water to this sub-region, its capacity is limited and cannot meet total demands without input from local water supplies.

    You can read more about this scenario in our Water for Life: Water Security Program - 2017 Annual Report

    The Sunshine Coast case study is an example of why we must plan for every possible scenario to ensure we have enough water to meet the needs of all of South East Queensland communities

  • The Reality of Dams

    4 months ago
    Recreation   blank

    We have more dams in Australia than anywhere else in the world

    Australia is the driest inhabited continent. The large number and size of water storages is because we are an arid country with highly variable rainfall. There are more than 800 major dams in Australia. We have 26 of them here in South East Queensland.

    • Our newest dam is Wyaralong, in the Scenic Rim, which was completed in 2011.
    • Our largest dam is Wivenhoe, which can store a whopping 1.165 million megalitres of water
    • Baroon Pocket Dam is the largest dam on the Sunshine Coast, which...

    We have more dams in Australia than anywhere else in the world

    Australia is the driest inhabited continent. The large number and size of water storages is because we are an arid country with highly variable rainfall. There are more than 800 major dams in Australia. We have 26 of them here in South East Queensland.

    • Our newest dam is Wyaralong, in the Scenic Rim, which was completed in 2011.
    • Our largest dam is Wivenhoe, which can store a whopping 1.165 million megalitres of water
    • Baroon Pocket Dam is the largest dam on the Sunshine Coast, which holds 61,000 megalitres.
    • If we were to pour all the combined water from the Sunshine Coast's drinking water dams into Wivenhoe, it would only fill Wivenhoe to about 8% of its drinking water capacity.

    Need more water? Just build more dams!

    While we’ve relied on dams in the past, and they’ve served us well, dams can only store water if it rains when and where we need it to. All the prime locations for dams in this region have generally already been snapped up.

    Unlike diamonds, dams are not forever

    Many of our dams were built more than fifty years ago (some even earlier). We regularly monitor and assess our dams and some have been identified for upgrades, so that they continue working as they should. But most dams only have a life expectancy of 50 – 100 years.

    On the Sunshine Coast, Baroon Pocket is the baby of the bunch, having been completed in 1988. Wappa Dam (1963), Lake Macdonald (1965), Ewen Maddock (1976) and Cooloolabin (1979) were all built nearly 40 years ago.

    Lake Macdonald will undergo a major upgrade in the next four years. We will complete the second stage of the Ewen Maddock upgrade - the first stage was completed in 2012. Upgrades of Wappa and Cooloolabin have been completed.

  • Welcome to the Realities of Rain hub

    4 months ago
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    So what is Realities of Rain?

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

    Sure, there's wedding day rain, long weekend rain, school holiday rain and just-polished-the-car rain. Times where you can be sure it will 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:

    So what is Realities of Rain?

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

    Sure, there's wedding day rain, long weekend rain, school holiday rain and just-polished-the-car rain. Times where you can be sure it will 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
    • Check out the Water for Life: Annual Report 2017 - you can find it in the Document Library
    • 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?