New contract saves on Wivenhoe electricity costs

Toowoomba Regional Council has negotiated a new contract for Wivenhoe Pump Station that could equate to a more than 30 per cent reduction in the cost of electricity with no change to service levels.

TRC Water and Waste Chair Cr Rebecca Vonhoff said the reduction equates to a cost-saving to Council of approximately $71,000 per month.

“The savings are great for ratepayers and Council’s bottom line,” Cr Vonhoff said.

“The pipeline has allowed us to preserve our water supply during this ongoing drought.

“With the combined dam levels currently sitting at 32 per cent, if we didn’t have this additional source of water, our Region would be in a much more dire situation.

Cr Vonhoff said water security, for our Region, is no simple fix. Our location at the top of the Great Dividing Range means we must generally move water uphill, and that’s expensive.

“No water flows to us. We move it from the East up from Wivenhoe, Cressbrook and Perseverance; and from the north from Cooby; and then we discharge it to the West into what eventually becomes the Murray Darling, or alternately we draw it up from bores.

“Across 13,000 km2, we have challenges associated with topography, water security and aging water infrastructure.”

“Under the existing Wivenhoe agreement, Council can pump 10,000ML each financial year.

“Any cost savings that Council can make without service loss is a win for ratepayers, and our bottom line.

TRC Water and Waste Portfolio Leader Cr Nancy Sommerfield said the Wivenhoe Pipeline has given water security to the Region in a time when we needed it most and will continue to do so for many years to come.

“There is no doubt that without the pipeline, our water supply would have been pushed to the limit during this drought,” Cr Sommerfield said.

“This piece of infrastructure has allowed us to plan for dry conditions better and ensure water sustainability well into the future,” Cr Sommerfield said.

“Council will continue working with both the State and Federal Governments and all other interested parties to build on our long-term water security planning.”

The pipeline is part of Council’s water storage plan, with Wivenhoe Dam acting as a fourth dam to supplement the Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply.

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