Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow speaks to the media about how businesses in Rockhampton can be part of Arrow Energy's pipeline project. Photo Austin King / The Morning Bulletin
Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow speaks to the media about how businesses in Rockhampton can be part of Arrow Energy's pipeline project. Photo Austin King / The Morning Bulletin Austin King

Strelow: Rocky was never at risk of running out of water

JUST 18 hours after Cyclone Marcia tore through the Rockhampton region, there had been grave concerns that the city's water supply would run dry.

Rumours were escalating on social media suggesting the Glenmore Water Treatment Plant had only two hours of supply left on the morning of February 21.

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But yesterday it was revealed these fears were unfounded.

Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow advised there had never been a risk of the city running out of water during the Cyclone Marcia power loss.

She said in the past, council had worked on the understanding that it has roughly three days of water supply in reservoirs and that Ergon would restore power to the plant as a priority.

"The reservoirs never got below an average of 60% before power was restored. It is regrettable there was some panic in the community regarding following advice from council to conserve water.

"The panic was caused in part from a social media post on the morning of February 21, saying there was only two hours supply left, which was never the case.''

Amongst the panic of losing water, questions were also being asked as to why the city's major treatment plant did not have a second source of power.

It turns out there was in fact a $530,000 generator at the treatment plant but, due to a major rebuild of the site, it was unable to be connected.

The generator had been placed at the treatment plant about a year ago.

Rockhampton Regional Council's general manager of regional services Bob Holmes said the treatment plant was undergoing a major upgrade which was why the generator wasn't wired up when Marcia struck.

"It's a big project that started 12 months ago," Mr Holmes said. "The second stage of the upgrade started in August, which is the upgrade to the high lift pump. Part of that task includes upgrading the electrical components, which was why the generator couldn't be connected.

"If it was connected, it would have only powered the treatment plant to 25% of capacity. If there were ever concerns of water supply, a mobile generator would be installed immediately."

Authorities have confirmed the generator will be operational after the second stage of the rebuild is completed mid-year. The total rebuild of the plant is expected to be complete in March 2016.

MARCIA MAYHEM:

February 20, 9am: Cyclone Marcia crosses the coast near Shoalwater Bay as a category five.

February 20, 11.50am: 65,000 Rocky residents are without power.

February 20, 1pm: Marcia hits Rockhampton as a category three.

February 20, 4.47pm: Rocky council sends out warnings to conserve water due to power loss.

February 20, 7.30pm: Livingstone Shire Council sends out warnings to conserve water.

February 21, 6pm: Power to the Glenmore Water Treatment Plant is restored.



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