Cressbrook Dam. Picture by Cathy Finch
Cressbrook Dam. Picture by Cathy Finch

Toowoomba to form ‘water alliance’ with nearby councils

THE Toowoomba Regional Council has put forward a plan to create a formal water alliance with several neighbouring councils, including one south of the border.

Councillors voted at the ordinary meeting yesterday in favour of seeking interest from the Southern Downs Regional Council, Western Downs Regional Council and Tenterfield Shire Council in New South Wales as a starting point.

Mayor Paul Antonio said the proposed water alliance was not just limited to those councils listed in the motion.

"We currently have an informal partnership with the Southern Downs, Western Downs and Tenterfield councils which was first initiated to discuss long-term water security options that would benefit the areas which the group collectively represents," he said.

"While the partnership has allowed us to discuss water security in general, to ensure that we're able to effectively advocate to other levels of government, it's important we formalise this pre-existing relationship.

"There is no doubt long-term water security is the highest priority for us right now."

Toowoomba Regional Council principal depot: Flyover/through of the TRC's new $67 million principal depot.
Toowoomba Regional Council principal depot: Flyover/through of the TRC's new $67 million principal depot.

Cr Antonio said a formal 'water alliance' would allow the TRC to advocate for a collective vision on water security for not only residential water use, but for agriculture, commercial and industry purposes as well.

"While residents connected to the Toowoomba water bulk supply have added water security through the pipeline that connects us to Wivenhoe, the reality is that this isn't the long-term solution for our entire region," he said.

"We have a number of towns doing it extremely tough and our council isn't alone in this position.

"There are a number of councils in the same boat and having a cross-collaboration approach to water security by a group of councils, rather than an individual council, will no doubt hold much more weight with the State and Federal Governments.

"We have far more power when we work collectively rather than alone."

There was conjecture among councillors as to whether the Tenterfield Shire Council should be included, but the original motion eventually passed.