PATH TO NOWHERE: Dam levels continue to drop at Storm King Dam.
PATH TO NOWHERE: Dam levels continue to drop at Storm King Dam. Matthew Purcell

THIRSTY FOR FUNDS: Why Warwick could soon pay more for water

THE Southern Downs Regional Council is thirsty for funding as Storm King Dam is set to run dry by December.

It will then fall to Warwick to supply more than 4000 Stanthorpe residents with water: A hard ask for a town already under the pump from extreme drought restrictions.

The cost of trucking the water south of the Rose City will be passed onto both rural and urban ratepayers, with charges expected to arrive April next year.

If Stanthorpe reduces their high water use from 205 litres per person, per day, to the mandated 120 litres per person, per day, this could buy ratepayers additional time.

There is a chance, however, that the cost of this emergency water levy will not be passed onto residents.

The SDRC is calling on the state government to fund the water transport costs and prevent struggling residents from copping another unwanted bill.

According to Mayor Tracy Dobie, providing water is usually the responsibility of the local government but the Southern Downs does not have enough ratepayers to support the additional water carting without incurring additional charges.

Talks are continuing between The State Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and the SDRC.

According to a spokeswoman for the department, the state government has supported SDRC by reviewing availability from SunWater's Coolmunda Dam as an alternative source of water for Stanthorpe.

If rain doesn't fall, and above ground and below ground water supplies are drained, the levy will increase again as water will need to be trucked in from outside the region.

That scenario is unlikely to happen for many years, if at all.



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