The Image Flat Water Treatment Plant on the Sunshine Coast hinterland is celebrating 50 years of operation, having produced 365 billion litres of water for the community. Seqwater held a small ceremony at the facility to celebrate those who have worked at the plant.

The plant, which was officially opened in 1968, formed part of Maroochy Shire’s first reticulated town water scheme – until then individual householders were responsible for their own water supply through rainwater tanks.

Image Flat is the main treatment facility in the Maroochy River area. It draws water from Poona Dam, Wappa Dam or the South Maroochy River which is supplemented by water from Cooloolabin Dam.

Treated water from the Image Flat Water Treatment Plant supplies numerous suburbs, including Nambour, Yandina, Eumundi and coastal urban developments north of the Maroochy River.

Among those to attend the celebratory ceremony was 91-year-old Martin Schultz, who was the first Water Treatment Plant Operator to work at the Image Flat plant and worked there for more than 20 years.

“Being back inside the plant again brings back a lot of memories. It sure doesn’t feel like 50 years since it was opened,” Mr Schultz said.

“There’s been a lot of technological advancement in water treatment since I worked here which was interesting to see.

“Machines and software systems have replaced a lot of the tasks that would previously have needed to be done by hand.”

Also in attendance was Nambour grandmother Muriel Harrison-Peters, whose late husband Jack Harrison worked as the first Water Officer for Maroochy Shire Council from 1957 to 1984.

Ms Harrison-Peters, 88, said she was among those in attendance when the Image Flat Water Treatment Plant was officially opened in 1968 by then Maroochy Shire Council Chairman David Low.

“I remember we all went on a tour of the plant when it was opened with council members and engineers, including Jack Mulholland who was crucial to the installation of numerous Sunshine Coast dams,” Mrs Harrison-Peters said.

“With his job, my husband would have to travel to different pump stations a few times a day to control the water supply to different tanks.”

Seqwater Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dan Spiller, said anniversaries were opportunities to look back and take stock of the past as well as plan for the future.

“It can be easy to take a safe, secure water supply for granted, but water is essential for all aspects of life, and we’re very proud of the role we play in a healthy and prosperous South East Queensland,” Mr Spiller said.

“The history of South East Queensland’s water supply is a fascinating and often dramatic story as engineers and planners work to adapt to a rapidly growing population in an ever-changing climate.

“These challenges continue as Seqwater plans for a sustainable water future that meets the needs of all South East Queenslanders.”

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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