Advocacy Alert - Water

Water is critical not only to life, but also to economic growth. The availability of water has always been at the core of development in this country. Our region is at risk of missing out on critical water supporting infrastructure investment. Everyday our members talk to us about their aims to grow and the risks of such expansion as a result of water insecurity. 

At our first Enterprise Evening of 2024, we heard from experts who talked about upcoming projects and how to make sure we have enough water for everyone. Water is not just an issue for agriculture, every industry, including manufacturing, food processing and health services, need water to operate.  Last year we advocated for $1.6B in projects and 3,500 jobs in the region, with a further $3.3B in the pipeline. Which demonstrates the critical need for secure water supply to realise this growth.

Water projects that require investment support in our region:

Cressbrook Dam Safety Improvement Project

  • An alliance secured the Cressbrook Dam Safety Improvement Project in December 2023, valued at around $270 million, to enhance flood capacity and resilience in the Toowoomba Region.
  • Projected to start in 2024 and end in 2026, involving road upgrades, spillway and dam wall reconstruction, and habitat restoration.
  • TRC resolved to explore the possibility of increasing the water capacity of Cressbrook Dam and supported the investigation of the potential Emu Creek Dam by the State Government.

Nathan Dam Pipeline Project

An important project for the Surat Basin – the Dam located in the Banana Shire, with a proposed pipeline project extending from the dam, through the Surat Basin, critical in providing the Dalby region with long-term, reliable water supply for mining, power, urban and agricultural needs. This $1.2B project is forecast to deliver up to 500 construction jobs.

Big-T Pumped Hydropower Energy Storage Project

  • Announcement expected in late 2024 or early 2025
  • Located around Cressbrook Dam in Southern Queensland renewable energy zone
  • Undergoing Environmental Impact Statement Assessment process
  • Underground power station with 400 MW of electricity for 10 hours per day
  • Battery energy storage system with 200 megawatt-hours capacity
  • Construction phase to create 250-500 jobs
  • Operation phase to create 25 jobs

Toowoomba to Warwick Pipeline Project

  • In June 2022, the Queensland Government officially approved funding exceeding $300 million
  • The responsibility for constructing, owning, and operating the pipeline lies with SEQwater completion is anticipated in early 2027, weather permitting.
  • Providing consistent water supply for 3400 residents in four Toowoomba Regional Council 
  • Drought contingency supply for 24,000 residents in Souther Downs Region. 
  • In November 2023, a call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) was released to the market for head contractors. Shortlisted contractors are now assembling tenders for the project.

The Regional Economies Centre of Excellence (RECoE) have prepared a special discussion paper for TSBE members on Building Drought Resilience in the Darling Downs/South West - Key Issues and Initiatives.

We look forward to continuing to advocate for policy, projects and practice that will benefit our members and our region.

Read the Discussion Paper Here