Seqwater's dam water reductions are safe money fix

WORK to reduce Cooloolabin Dam's capacity by 50% is part of a multi-million-dollar program being rolled out by Seqwater to address concerns about safety issues with six of the 26 water bodies it controls.

The bill comes as the water utility admits if it was a private sector business it would be considered insolvent.

The Cooloolabin project near Yandina, which will take a month and cost $500,000, has been ruled a better value option than a potential $20million to $40million required to satisfy new safety guidelines.

Seqwater spokesman Mike Foster said money needed to be spent prudently, given all costs weighed against bulk water charges.

In strictly commercial terms he said the water utility was trading insolvent with debts of $9.2 billion against a $10 billion asset base.

Mr Foster said the millennium drought which prompted a massive spend on water infrastructure across south-east Queensland had been responsible for the debt level.

The water utility was now in the throes of its next 30-year plan to cater for further massive growth. Mr Foster said the investment in water security plus increased water frugality by consumers meant no new infrastructure source would be needed before 2030.

A 9mx3m hole will be cut into the Cooloolabin Dam wall, reducing its capacity from 13,500 megalitres to 7,500 megalitres. It will be maintained at just 58% of that new capacity. The measures would improve the dam's risk profile.

Mr Foster said water security would not be reduced because the Image Flat water treatment plant had restricted capacity.

Cooloolabin Hall secretary Michael Joyce said the community remained unconvinced about the need for the work. Neighbour Phil Jobson said Cooloolabin had the Coast's highest rainfall, water feeding into the dam from the national park was pristine and it was cheap because it could be gravity fed to the Image Flat treatment plant.

"We've been told for the past eight years how precious it (water) is,'' Mr Jobson said. "Now they want to reduce capacity from 15,000 megalitres to 7000 megalitres. It's just about money. It's not about water.''

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