Council to debate buying into Emu Swamp Dam
STANTHORPE residents could soon see their water security bolstered as Southern Downs councillors debate council’s involvement in Emu Swamp Dam.
At the scheduled December 16 council meeting, councillors will discuss whether SDRC should purchase water from the dam project to assure greater water security for Stanthorpe.
In a report tabled in the agenda, it is revealed council had been in talks with stakeholders to purchase 585ML for Storm King Dam, in the scenario levels drop below 600ML.
But that would only be one option to boost the urban water supply with the other possibility raising Storm King's wall by 2.5 metres.
Expert modelling proved the latter would be more sustainable but came at a greater cost.
“The modelling undertaken by the State Government demonstrates that there will be an
improvement in water reliability for the Stanthorpe region, however a more reliable option would be to raise Storm King Dam,” the report raid.
“The raising of Storm King Dam is also a higher capital cost option, with the expense expected to be in the order of $20 – $30 million (dependent on detail design and environmental requirements), compared to a buy in cost to Emu Swamp Dam of $6,000 per ML.
“Participation by Council in the Emu Swamp Dam project will be a short term step in the direction of securing a more reliable urban water supply for Stanthorpe and surrounds. Other medium term and long term options will continue to be investigated.”
As part of the agreement, council would also sell 400- 450 ML of the water allocation from
Storm King Dam to The Granite Belt Irrigation Project to offset the cost of purchasing the Emu Swamp Dam allocation.
Brokers have estimated the current value of Storm King Dam water is $2,500—2,750/ML.
Should Council wishes participate in the Emu Swamp Dam project through the water purchase
a budget amendment will be required as the 2020/21 budget has no capital for the spend.
Councillors will also use to meeting to discuss water quality and buffer zone considerations.