Water trucking trial to begin for Mount Morgan
Rockhampton Regional Council will trial trucking water from Gracemere to Mount Morgan in case the amount of potable water in the Mount Morgan No.7 Dam decreases to dangerous levels.
In the meantime the council intends to look into and consult residents about a more sustainable solution.
The No.7 dam is now at 9.9 per cent – three to six months’ worth of drinkable water – but the council stressed residents would not be forsaken.
Fitzroy River Water manager Jason Plumb said the three to six month estimate was based on expected evaporation and the fact Mount Morgan residents used about 750 kilolitres of water a day.
“There is the potential as the dam level continues to drop that the water might reach a point where it becomes more difficult to treat … that might become the obvious trigger commencing tanking in water,” he said.
Between 2003 and 2007, the water in the dam reached as low as 3 per cent and remained safe.
Councillor Donna Kirkland said if the trial was successful and trucking eventually had to be formally implemented, 17 to 20 trucks carrying up to 30 kilolitres of water each would travel to Mount Morgan each day.
She said that amounted to 160L per person every day.
“As soon as tomorrow we’ll be looking at taking a couple of trucks out, just two water tankers to see how all of the logistics of all that is going to work, trucking water from Gracemere straight to the water treatment plant at Mount Morgan and then out to the community,” Cr Kirkland said.
She hoped the State Government would pay for the trucking based on precedent at other councils.
Mayor Tony Williams said the council was considering a “whole suite of options with different price tags” to provide a long-term answer, such as a new dam at Nine Mile Creek or Fletchers Creek, a desalination plant, a hydro scheme, or a pipeline from Gracemere to Mount Morgan.
Mount Morgan residents would be consulted on those projects, he said.
“I want to be really clear on this: we will not leave Mount Morgan residents without access to water,” Cr Williams said.
“We do need to have a modern solution for what’s available for a community of that size.
“Because we’ve got a low socio-economic community with Mount Morgan, it’s very important that we don’t outprice the water for the supply to them.”
He said he had spoken with Mirani MP Steven Andrews and written to Water Minister Glenn Butcher.
Councillor Cherie Rutherford said letters were sent to Mount Morgan residents Tuesday, and the council was planning public meetings.