The goal of GAWB’s Drought Management Plan (DMP) is to ensure continued water supply for our customers and community during prolonged drought conditions. The DMP outlines the operational, commercial and environmental triggers, and subsequent actions, required for the implementation of a Low Supply Alert and any future Supply Restrictions.
On Wednesday 7 April 2021, GAWB issued a Low Supply Alert Declaration to its customer base, including the Gladstone Regional Council.
It is important to remember that a Low Supply Alert is not a Supply Restriction. It is an opportunity to act early, raise awareness and adopt water saving behaviours.
Our Drought Management Plan is triggered by predicted timeframes and demand forecasts, not dam capacity (for example, a Low Supply Alert is triggered when our models indicate that we are five years away from dead storage based on forecasted demand. It is not triggered by the capacity of the dam at any one time).
GAWB has six possible Drought Management stages. This includes a Low Supply Alert (current state) and five levels of increasing supply restrictions.
The table below outlines the trigger alert for each stage:
Low Supply Alert
5 years (60 months) reliable water supply
Level 1 Supply Restriction
4 years (48 months) reliable water supply
Level 2 Supply Restriction
3 years (36 months) reliable water supply
Level 3 Supply Restriction
2 years (24 months) reliable water supply
Level 4 Supply Restriction
1 year (12 months) reliable water supply
Emergency Supply Restrictions
When dead storage is reached
Dead Storage: The water remaining in Lake Awoonga that can’t be accessed without the use of temporary pumps. Around 8 per cent of the total supply held in the dam.
A Low Supply Alert is not a Supply Restriction.
It is an opportunity for all of us to reconsider our water consumption behaviours, identify opportunities to reduce our usage and raise awareness of water security in the Gladstone region. GAWB considers a multitude of factors before declaring a Low Supply Alert, including public health, future requirements, commercial obligations, economic impacts and environmental management.
Our DMP recognises different customer needs and will individually tailor supply restrictions accordingly. If Level One Supply Restrictions do need to be imposed, GAWB will advise customers of any restrictions that may apply to them.
The impact is different for everyone. But we must all remember that everyone contributes to water security in our region.
We also recognise that more than 80% of our water is supplied to industrial users – some of our region’s major employers and major drivers of our local economy. We are working closely with our industrial customers, along with Gladstone Regional Council (GRC), to identify any voluntary reduction measures that may be suitable at this stage.
GAWB does not have the authority to place Supply Restrictions on residential water users. This is the responsibility of Gladstone Regional Council. If future Supply Restrictions are declared by GAWB, it will be GRC who decides makes that decision. We are committed to working with GRC to ensure accurate and timely information is provided to the local community.
The Queensland Government is looking at water security in Central Queensland. This includes considering the construction of the Gladstone to Fitzroy Pipeline.