A significant increase in inflows in the Goondiwindi region's three major river systems has prompted Council to change water restriction levels across the region.
In a Special Meeting this morning, Council resolved to move Goondiwindi to medium level restrictions, to move Yelarbon to low restrictions, and to remove restrictions in Inglewood, Talwood, Bungunya and Toobeah. Texas remains on medium restrictions. All changes are effective immediately.
Mayor Graeme Scheu said the recent rain events across the region had required Council to undertake a review of its water supply and storage. The data from the review has allowed Council to make an informed decision about what level of restriction is required in each town, in accordance with the Drought Management Plan.
Council's Director of Engineering, Dion Jones, informed councillors that the Goondiwindi river reach and Boggabilla Weir has between six to nine months of water currently accessible.
The Queensland Government's Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy has advised Council that, without further flows, it may not be possible to actually transfer Council's allocation of high priority water in Glenlyon Dam to Goondiwindi, Texas and Yelarbon. Without the guarantee of a release from Glenlyon Dam, Cr Scheu said Council had to be cautious in its decision-making for those affected towns.
Yelarbon has a guaranteed supply of between nine to 12 months of high priority water; Inglewood, Talwood, Bungunya and Toobeah all have an estimated supply of more than 12 months of guaranteed high priority water.
Council has been regularly monitoring its water storage levels in conjunction with the DNRME. Before the rainfall of the past few weeks, several of the region's towns had previously been facing the imminent risk of running out of water, with Goondiwindi only having enough river supply until May or June 2020.
Cr Scheu said he hoped the changes would ease some of the strain on the region's residents and businesses.
"The recent rain we've had has been fantastic. It's by no means drought-breaking, but it's a huge sigh of relief for many residents across the Goondiwindi region," the Mayor said.
"We've had residents receive more than their year's total rainfall for 2019 in just a few weeks of 2020. Hopefully this decision eases some of the pressure that residents were facing just a few weeks ago as the risk of running out of water is no longer immediate."
Council is continuing to secure long-term water solutions for the region, including the establishment of two bores in Goondiwindi and the search for water in Inglewood. Since last year, Council has already established a new bore in Yelarbon, replaced the existing bore in Texas, upgraded several water treatment plants and implemented more efficient watering practices across the region.
Cr Scheu emphasised that he encouraged the conservative use of water across the region regardless of whether water restrictions were in place.
"We've been lucky and never needed restrictions before last year, but I think the last few months have given all of us a lesson in just how precious our water supply is and, going forward, I hope we can all be that much more careful with how we use it," the Mayor said.
Water restriction levels as of February 19, 2020:
- Goondiwindi - Medium
- Texas - Medium
- Yelarbon - Low
- Inglewood - Nil
- Toobeah - Nil
- Bungunya - Nil
- Talwood - Nil