Queensland’s Rockhampton Regional Council has endorsed the proposal for a major pipeline to improve Mount Morgan’s future water supply.
A preliminary evaluation, completed by consulting firm AECOM, was presented to Council as the first part of the business case that is being developed to address Mount Morgan’s long-term water security.
Rockhampton Mayor, Tony Williams, said AECOM undertook a comprehensive options analysis and modelling activities as part of this, with a potable water pipeline being the recommended option.
“The preliminary evaluation recommended a pipeline as the most viable solution to ensure water security for the Mount Morgan community,” Mr Williams said.
“A number of options were assessed as part of this process and the outcome was that the best, most economic option is for a potable water pipeline with a connection at Gracemere.
“We know the people of Mount Morgan have been wanting a pipeline for a long time, but we can’t just go out and build a pipeline; unfortunately it’s not that easy.
“We need to go through this process so we can partner with other levels of government in the future to give us a better chance of receiving funding and the pipeline becoming a reality.
“We are doing this preliminary evaluation and subsequent business case because it is in line with the Queensland Treasury’s Project Assessment Framework – which is the key to justifying the project and seeking funding support from all levels of government.
“The Mount Morgan community have been battling a drought for far too long, and we want to make sure this is done the right way so they never, ever have to experience this again.”
Water and Environmental Sustainability Councillor, Donna Kirkland, said that Council is seeking support from other levels of government for the costs of water cartage and the next stages of the project.
“Council has already spent millions of dollars trucking water to Mount Morgan just so residents can turn on their taps,” Ms Kirkland said.
“While the State Government hasn’t provided any support for this so far, they have committed to looking at the situation again once the wet season is over.
“We also have an endorsed advocacy priority to seek $3.5 million for a business case and detailed design to get this project off the ground.
“The current estimate for the construction of a pipeline to Mount Morgan has been estimated at approximately $40 million, and we will be firming up costs through the business case and detailed design stages.”
The Mount Morgan community has been under emergency supply restrictions for almost a year, with water being carted from Gracemere to Mount Morgan at the cost of approximately $4.5 million.
“We know that carting water is not a sustainable long-term solution, both for Mount Morgan and the ratepayers of the Rockhampton Region, which is why we are committed to finding a solution for the community of Mount Morgan that will continue to provide for many years to come,” Ms Kirkland said.
Divisional Councillor, Cherie Rutherford, said Council’s endorsement was another important step in the journey for a long-term solution.
“It is a credit to the Mount Morgan community how well they have done in the face of strict water restrictions,” Ms Rutherford said.
“We know this is difficult, but it is so important that everyone comes together and this great work continues to conserve that carted water supply.
“The next step for the long-term solution is the business case. Council has committed $300,000 towards this already and we are seeking $500,000 from other levels of government to complete this work.
“From there, we estimate it will be another $3 million on top of that to get the detailed design done and this will give us the most complete picture of what the project will cost and how it will be delivered.”