Sunday, June 23, 2024

Toowoomba approves dam spill to allow safety upgrade

Toowoomba Regional Council has today voted to support a recommendation to lower Cressbrook Dam’s water level to enable the Cressbrook Dam Safety Improvement Project to safely proceed.

Mayor, Geoff McDonald said the project required construction to be completed below the current water level.

“This isn’t a decision we’ve made lightly,” Mayor McDonald said. “We understand the importance of water security and have looked at all alternatives that were proposed by the Alliance team.

“However, releasing water is something we need to do to safely proceed with this project and to ensure the risk of failure to the dam is minimised during construction.”

The project team requires access to parts of the dam and associated structures currently underwater.

The Project is set to improve dam safety and ensure the dam remains a reliable and quality water supply for the Region. It will see the dam spillway widened to increase flood resilience and protect landholders downstream in the Somerset Regional Council area.

“The recommendation proposes gradually releasing water to provide the team with a safe work environment,” the Mayor said.

Water is proposed to be released over a four-to-five-month period from July 2024, weather and construction conditions permitting.

“The controlled lowering of the dam water level will enable Council to manage the process safely and effectively, minimising disruptions.”

Mayor McDonald said temporarily lowering the water level would not affect access to water for Toowoomba Region residents who are connected to the bulk water supply network.

“There will be no reduction in volume or quality of water available for residential or commercial use during this time,” he said.

“We expect the campground, boat ramps and walking trails to remain open. We also expect recreational activities at the dam, such as boating and fishing, to continue.

“We will advise the community of any temporary disruptions to recreational activities at the dam. As always, Council encourages residents to use water wisely.”

Mayor McDonald said considerations around the possible replacement of the water that is proposed to be released, and any financial implications, would be matters for Council to consider in the future, and which would be dependent on weather conditions and other factors.

The Water and Waste Committee’s recommendation will be proposed for Council endorsement at the Ordinary Meeting on 18 June.

The project is required as a result of the Queensland Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water’s guidelines relating to acceptable flood capacity modelling under an as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) risk-based approach.  

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