Gympie region on track to run out of water within decade
Mayor Glen Hartwig is urging Gympie's future water security be put front and centre amid fears the region's booming population will be left without water within the next decade.
Mr Hartwig this week said the promise of a population boom not only in the Gympie region, but in other areas relying on the same catchment for its water, including Noosa and the Sunshine Coast, meant it was crucial for all government levels to start planning ahead.
"On our current trajectory we may be out of (our water) allocation in eight to 10 years," Mr Hartwig said.
Queensland Government population predictions in 2018 forecast the number of residents in the region would surge from 50,292 in 2016 to 60,088 in 2041.
This prediction was made before the COVID pandemic which experts say is now causing regional populations to surge even more as city residents pack up and head to lower density areas.
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Gympie's water supply is pulled from the Borumba Dam.
And the looming population problem is being compounded by the consistently dry weather of the past few years.
"Allocations at times of adequate, consistent rainfall are never an issue; the problem … occurs during drought time," Mr Hartwig said.
"As a council we need to start the process of discussion and planning around future water security for 20 years and beyond.
"Does the current infrastructure of Borumba Dam provide adequate security for that 20-50 year mark?
"Should other sources be identified now?
"Should the long discussed raising of Borumba Dam wall be put back on the agenda as a matter of urgency?
"We all know that Gympie is going to do a lot of heavy lifting in terms of population growth for the larger southeast corner.
"Having reliable secure water is absolutely essential to facilitate that growth."
Gympie MP Tony Perrett has flagged the raising of the Borumba Dam wall numerous times in the past; it was also a key piece of One Nation's state election campaign in 2017, where they promised $700 million to deliver it if they were voted into a position of power.
"We know there's going to be expansion on the Sunshine Coast, we know there's going to be greater water demands; we know in the Gympie region we're going to be in the same predicament," Mr Hartwig said.
"Let's have that conversation now before there's promises of a desalination plant because there's desperate need of water.
"We want to plan ahead."