In a joint statement in Warwick this week by Premier and Minister for Trade Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water Glenn Butcher, the Queensland Government announced a $20 million drought resilience package for the Southern Downs region.

The Premier said that although urban supply was at capacity following recent rain, the region would always be susceptible to drought and the Queensland Government was 100 per cent committed to securing long-term water security for the region. “While the recent rain had provided much needed relief to the Southern Downs region, including good inflows into Leslie, Connolly and Storm Kind Dams, it hasn’t been enough to solve long-term water security issues,” she said.

“It’s great news that water carting is no longer needed with Storm King Dam now at 100 per cent capacity but our commitment to provide water security to the wider Southern Downs region still stands. That’s why today I’m announcing the next step in providing water security for the region with a $20 million Southern Downs Drought Resilience Package.”

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said, “Severe drought all but crippled most of Queensland and at a time when the Southern Downs Regional Council carted 40-plus trucks of water per day between Warwick and Stanthorpe, the State Government stood should-to-shoulder with us to provide water for our community and I cannot thank Premier Palaszczuk enough.

“I did not expect the announcement for Allora and once again, extend my thanks to State Government for the foresight they have shown in this regard. Securing access to our existing allocation of 350 megalitres in Allora by being able to treat the water to an acceptable standard in there will further alleviate pressure on the Leslie Dam water supply,” he said.

The package includes: $8.1 million in preparatory works for the Toowoomba to Warwick pipeline, including detailed design, surveying and geotechnical works, $4.6 million in upgrades, including enhanced water treatment, to reconnect groundwater available to the Allora township, freeing up to 350 megalitres of additional Southern Downs urban water supply annually, and $1.4 million to help Southern Downs Regional Council to move a range of industries from using precious urban water supplies to groundwater, including local processing and industrial businesses.

It also includes $4.54 million to increase Leslie Dam’s usable water capacity by upgrading its pumps and water treatment systems, increasing usable storage capacity by an additional 1700 megalitres, $700,000 to support Southern Downs Regional Council investigations into local groundwater supplies for Warwick, Allora and Stanthorpe, and to support Sunwater’s efficiency and innovation investigations at Lesley Dam.

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