Gracemere needs two new reservoirs to cope with demand and expansion.
Gracemere needs two new reservoirs to cope with demand and expansion. CHRIS ISON

Gracemere water pressure a drip

IT could take as much as $8 million to fix Gracemere’s water supply problems.

But that doesn’t worry Naomi White.

The new Gracemere resident, who moved into a new house in Robertson Road six months ago, would just like to have a shower – and not have the flow of water cut off without warning.

Low-pressure problems are continuing to plague the town where there simply doesn’t seem to be enough water to go round.

“I can’t water the yard because there’s not enough pressure. It trickles out the hose and sometimes when I have a shower the water just stops. I think we must be at the very end of the town water supply and if others are using water, there’s none left for us,” she said yesterday.

The scale of the task facing Fitzroy River Water (FRW) was revealed this week when councillors were told that, despite the recent rains, Level 2 restrictions should remain in place.

Some areas of the town have suffered low pressure for months and the problem can’t be rectified quickly despite a recent boost to pumping systems which have increased flows from Rockhampton by 37%.

Water Committee chairman Cr Greg Belz told The Morning Bulletin yesterday that a proposed expenditure of $1.3 million in the 2010/11 budget was expected to solve the community’s immediate problems.

Other residents grumbled about the unpredictable supply yesterday. One said that if she turned on her garden sprinklers at 4pm, she didn’t know how long they would work before they spluttered to a halt.

“It takes a long, long time to run a bath, that’s for sure,” she said.

The work this year and next will include the installation of a new 300 mm main from Mawdesley Hill reservoirs to feed the town’s reticulation system and an increase in the capacity of the supply line from Rockhampton to Gracemere’s pumping station.

But FRW accepts that the town will need a new pumping station and another reservoir in the next three years.

And to meet Gracemere’s projected growth over the next 20 years, FRW will have to spend an estimated $7.9 million by 2017/18.

“Current growth and water demand projections show the likely need to construct a new $2.5 million reservoir at Lucas Street and a $1.5 million upgrade of four kilometres of the supply line from Rockhampton about the same time.”

The Morning Bulletin understands Fitzroy River Water, which undertook responsibility for Gracemere upon amalgamation only in 2007, had been shocked at the poor state of the town’s infrastructure.

The previous Fitzroy Shire Council constructed a pipeline from the Athelstane reservoir in Rockhampton, that does not have the capacity to meet existing demand. The final section of the pipeline drops to 200-250mm and will have to be replaced with larger-capacity pipe.

Cr Belz said the installation of new pumps and the work to be done over the next two years would sort out the existing problems, but there were serious challenges to be met to secure supplies to match the town’s growing population.

“It’s good to see the residential growth in Gracemere,” he said.

“There were 245 new water connections there in 2009, compared with 162 in Rockhampton and 247 at the Capricorn Coast.”

FRW had previously apologised to Gracemere residents for pumping failures which caused supply, pressure and water quality problems in November.

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