SDRC receives slice of $3M in water security funding
Southern Downs residents could be welcoming improvements to water security sooner than expected, thanks to a massive $3 million investment from the state government.
The funding windfall will be put towards a Darling Downs regional water assessment, with hopes the show of support could lead to a more in-depth water security study on the Southern Downs.
Members of the Southern Queensland Inland and NSW Border Regional Water Alliance voted at their most recent meeting in February to invite other entities to the group.
Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi and SDRC CEO Dave Burges were joined by representatives from the Toowoomba, Western Downs, Goondiwindi, Lockyer Valley, and Tenterfield Regional Councils.
Members of the Department of Premier and Cabinet and other major groups were also in attendance.
With the Regional Water Alliance now meeting on a regular rotational basis, Cr Pennisi said the next step was to bring other Southern Downs councillors to the table.
"It is early days for the alliance, but in my view it is working very well already to open communication channels between regional stakeholders and government," Cr Pennisi said.
"I think it is important to ensure that councillors from the region in which a meeting is held are invited as observers, so they can meet the stakeholders and have a feel for the types of discussions being had."
Councillor Stephen Tancred urged residents and councillors alike to offer their "open and enthusiastic support" to the water alliance's efforts.
"Governing water resources is a long-term strategy and there can be many roadblocks in relation to state government allocations," Cr Tancred said.
"The 1060ML of surface water reserve from Accommodation Creek and Pikes Creek currently open for tender to (Southern Downs farmers) was released as a result of a 20-year process involving all levels of government."
A timeline for the water security assessment as not yet been confirmed.