Monday, June 24, 2024

Goondiwindi digs deep for alternative water supply

Goondiwindi Regional Council has started work to drill three new test bores in Inglewood as part of an effort to establish an additional water supply and greater long-term water security for the town.

The test bores will be up to 350m deep and will be the first known bores of this depth in the area. The test bores are being subsidised by State Government funding and, if a viable water supply is located, will be used to supplement the existing town water supply.

Council selected the three sites following extensive geophysical surveys and 3D mapping of more than 100 initial test points in the area. Two of the bores will be drilled near the Inglewood Water Treatment Plant and a third on a Council-owned lot on Bethcar Road.

Councillor Rick Kearney holds Council’s portfolio for water services. He said that while Coolmunda Dam can store a significant amount of water for Inglewood residents, the town is currently vulnerable if the Macintyre Brook runs dry, as that water is unable to reach the town.

“Council remains committed to sourcing alternate water sources for Inglewood, which is the last town in the region lacking long-term water security,” Cr Kearney said.

“While there has been some rainfall across the Goondiwindi region recently, there just hasn’t been good rain run-off into our catchment areas, and Coolmunda Dam for example currently sits at just 15.6%. Pindari Dam is at just 12.6% and Glenlyon at 13.9%.”

Coolmunda Dam dropped to a historical low of just 1.67% capacity on 13 December 2019. Throughout the current drought, Council has continued to advocate for assistance in securing both immediate and long-term water supply across the Goondiwindi region. Council approached the Queensland Government’s Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet in 2019 to request their assistance in ensuring no town would be “left dry”.

Since then, Council has received $4.2 million in funding from the State Government towards a number of water security projects across the region, including new bores in Goondiwindi, Texas and Yelarbon, increased water storage facilities at Toobeah, infrastructure upgrades at the water treatment plants in Goondiwindi, Inglewood and Yelarbon, and upgrades to the Yarrilwanna waterhole at Bungunya.

Council has also allocated $6.5 million to upgrade the region’s water security infrastructure for the 2020-21 financial year, and securing the future of Inglewood’s water supply is now the priority. However, Cr Kearney has emphasised that information about the availability of underground water in Inglewood is limited, and there is no guarantee of the viability of the test bores.

“The DNRME has advised that no bores have been drilled to depths greater than 100m in the area,” Cr Kearney said.

“They only have information on existing shallow bores, and these shallow bores have a minimal water supply,” he said.

“However, there is some evidence that with deeper bores, there will be enough supply to supplement the urban requirements – it’s possible we could find a sufficient water supply from just one bore or will require all three to meet the town’s supply requirements.”

Drilling is expected to take about two months to complete, and the specialised workers will stay locally for the duration of the works. If the test bores are successful, the next step will be to drill a production bore, which will then be connected to the Inglewood Water Treatment Plant.

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