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 Your Water Future

    1 day ago
    Crystall ball

    For the past three months, we’ve been talking about 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...

    For the past three months, we’ve been talking about 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.

    Join us at a community forum! Keep an eye on the Realities of Rain hub for details. First cab off the rank will be Sunshine Coast – but we look forward to getting around and talking to other regions soon.

  • The Reality of Purified Recycled Water

    8 days 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

    11 days 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

    11 days 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

    28 days 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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  • The Reality of the Plan

    about 1 month ago
    Person with clipboard

    We’ve been talking a lot of the realities of rain – that we can’t count on it to fall when and where we need it – and that we need to plan for our water future.

    So what does ‘the plan’ look like?

    Our Water Security Program is our plan to provide South East Queensland with drinking water over the next 30 years. This includes planning for extreme weather — both flood and drought.

    Looking so far ahead means our plan has to be adaptive – balancing demand (how much water communities use), supply (how much water we can source,...

    We’ve been talking a lot of the realities of rain – that we can’t count on it to fall when and where we need it – and that we need to plan for our water future.

    So what does ‘the plan’ look like?

    Our Water Security Program is our plan to provide South East Queensland with drinking water over the next 30 years. This includes planning for extreme weather — both flood and drought.

    Looking so far ahead means our plan has to be adaptive – balancing demand (how much water communities use), supply (how much water we can source, treat and transport) and the operation of our water grid (how we transfer water and what sources we use) so we can provide water for life.

    You can read a summary of the Water Security Program or check out the whole program.

    Sunshine Coast residents can check out Planning your water future for information specific to the region. We’ll be releasing other region plans soon.

  • The Reality of the Water Grid

    about 1 month ago
    Graph   taps

    In South East Queensland, we count on our key drinking water dams to provide us with water to live, work and play. The SEQ Water Grid means we can move water around the region, which is especially important if one part of the region is experiencing an unusual dry spell, while another has enjoyed good rainfall.

    We saw this in the summer of 2016-17, when low rainfall in the north-east of the region left Baroon Pocket Dam, on the Sunshine Coast, and North Pine Dam, in Brisbane’s north, at about half their capacity. So we used the water...

    In South East Queensland, we count on our key drinking water dams to provide us with water to live, work and play. The SEQ Water Grid means we can move water around the region, which is especially important if one part of the region is experiencing an unusual dry spell, while another has enjoyed good rainfall.

    We saw this in the summer of 2016-17, when low rainfall in the north-east of the region left Baroon Pocket Dam, on the Sunshine Coast, and North Pine Dam, in Brisbane’s north, at about half their capacity. So we used the water grid to supplement Sunshine Coast water supply with treated water from Brisbane – usually destined for Brisbane’s northern suburbs - and increased production at our largest water treatment plants at Mount Crosby (near Ipswich) to supplement drinking water to Brisbane’s north.

    Check out our Water Grid video and fact sheet for more information.


  • The Reality of Flood

    about 2 months ago
    Raincloud

    We can’t always count on the rain to stop falling when we want it to. Floods are a part of the climate in South East Queensland, and just as we plan for droughts, we have plans in place for when there are floods, too.

    Find out more about flood mitigation by reading our fact sheet and checking out the video of how we operate two of our gated dams, Wivenhoe and Somerset.


    We can’t always count on the rain to stop falling when we want it to. Floods are a part of the climate in South East Queensland, and just as we plan for droughts, we have plans in place for when there are floods, too.

    Find out more about flood mitigation by reading our fact sheet and checking out the video of how we operate two of our gated dams, Wivenhoe and Somerset.


  • The Reality of Climate Change

    about 2 months ago
    Temperature sea
    We all know South East Queensland’s climate can vary – from storms and floods, to droughts and heatwaves. The climate has already changed and will continue to change – and SEQ will experience more extreme weather as a result.

    This is just one of the factors we need to take into consideration when planning for South East Queensland’s water future. We’ve already had a taste of this when the dams on the Sunshine Coast – normally our most reliable – experienced an unprecedented two wet seasons in a row with well below average rainfall.

    Although our Water Grid supplemented water...

    We all know South East Queensland’s climate can vary – from storms and floods, to droughts and heatwaves. The climate has already changed and will continue to change – and SEQ will experience more extreme weather as a result.

    This is just one of the factors we need to take into consideration when planning for South East Queensland’s water future. We’ve already had a taste of this when the dams on the Sunshine Coast – normally our most reliable – experienced an unprecedented two wet seasons in a row with well below average rainfall.

    Although our Water Grid supplemented water supplies on the coast to slow the drawdown on the local dams, and eventually replenishing rains arrived - it brought home that without a climate resilient source, like a desalination plan or water treatment plant that can recycle water, the Sunshine Coast is vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

    That’s why we’re planning to have a new water source on the Sunshine Coast in the next 15 to 20 years.
    Check out our Climate Change Fact Sheet and Infographic for more information, or leave your climate change question on our discussion forum.
  • The Reality of Drought

    about 2 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 to...

    ‘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