Salinity levels rise, causes debate

SALINITY levels in the Fitzroy River have risen since December but relief is on the way, councillors were told yesterday.

Rockhampton Regional Mayor Brad Carter requested an update during the water committee meeting and was told by Fitzroy River Water treatment and supply manager Jason Plumb that reported salinity levels had "increased significantly".

The levels yesterday were more than 700 uS/cm at the Fitzroy River Barrage, compared to levels of just above 600uS/cm at the end of December.

Mr Plumb said it was expected to drop with water expected to run through the Fitzroy in the next five to six days from the Isaac Shire.

Earlier in the meeting, an officer's recommendation led to some debate.

It recommended council adopt a position that "drinking water supplied by Fitzroy River Water currently meets state regulations and national guidelines for the supply of safe drinking water and that there is no public health-related reason to supply bottled water to the public".

Cr Cherie Rutherford raised concerns with the recommendation, saying it could damage council's stance in the future about what it believes the standard should be for the Rockhampton community.

Her concerns centred around water being aesthetically pleasing to drink and the public confusing health with the aesthetics.

Cr Stephen Schwarten moved that the matter be held over until the next water committee meeting to think about the issues raised by Cr Rutherford, however, the vote was tied and committee chairman Cr Greg Belz had the motion defeated.

The officer's recommendation was then passed.

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