Day Zero – Canungra’s Water Crisis

Outside Water treatment plant
Sarah Withecombe unable to access water from the filling station in Canungra

On Monday, 25th November 2019 the Canungra Water Treatment Plant, which in January was hailed by Seqwater as ‘securing Canungra’s water future for the next 30 years’, was shut down when Canungra Creek stopped flowing, impacting raw water quality.

Water is currently being tankered into the Appel Street reservoir from Beaudesert to meet the demands of the township.

Urban Utilities spokesperson Michelle Cull said with the water treatment plant offline, Urban Utilities had to close its tanker filling station in Canungra until further notice.

“While Seqwater’s tankering is maintaining water supply for the town, there is not enough to service the demand at the Canungra tanker filling station,” she said.

Although Canungra is part of the South East Queensland water grid, it is not physically connected to the grid and the town’s water is sourced from Canungra Creek.

Water carriers are travelling to Beaudesert and Nerang for water supplies, pushing the cost of water deliveries up significantly.

On 27th November, following pressure from members of the public and Member for Scenic Rim Jon Krause, Urban Utilities set up a temporary filling station on Coburg Road, Canungra, to provide some relief for those not on town water.

“While I acknowledge QUU’s priority is those on town water, the practical reality is many people from places like Illinbah, Sarabah, Flying Fox and a number of other places rely on that standpipe – it has been available for quite a long time for them to use,” said Jon.

“That is why Seqwater, as the body responsible for producing the water, must do everything possible to keep up that supply.”

“It is quite frankly not good enough that after battling fires for the past months residents are now being asked to go to Beaudesert to access drinking water,” said Jon.

Seqwater and Urban Utilities were contacted on 6th November regarding low water levels in Canungra Creek.  The response from Seqwater was that creek flows had decreased since September due to the ongoing dry conditions, however restrictions were not yet required.

In the week prior to the Treatment Plant closure, an average of 315 kilolitres per day was being delivered through the Canungra tanker filling station.  The average demand during the first week of October was 130 kilolitres per day.

The Coomera River, which services some rural properties in Illinbah, stopped flowing a week prior to the closure.

Jon Krause said the sudden closure of the treatment plant and tanker filling station was not good enough.

“It was only a week or two before the closure, that Urban Utilities and Seqwater started very “gentle” awareness campaigns to conserve water, and now the plant doesn’t have enough water,” said Jon.

“It didn’t all just evaporate in a week. I think somebody in these entities has taken their eye off the ball in a big way, and they now need to fix the situation by getting enough water to Canungra for both town and non-town users of Urban Utilities water.”

Mayor Greg Christensen said he was advised by Arran Hassell, Commandant of the Land Warfare Centre at Canungra, that residents on the Barracks will be on the same water restrictions as Canungra township.

Mandatory water restrictions were brought in on Saturday 30th November.  The Treatment Plant will remain closed until significant rainfall has been received.

About Keer Moriarty 62 Articles
Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady with Canungra Times.