Council calls for water plan to unlock $1b future growth
THE Toowoomba Regional Council has called on the State and Federal Governments to assess the Darling Downs' long-term water options, in a bid to help unlock $1 billion in untapped development.
Water and waste chair Cr Rebecca Vonhoff put forward the motion at yesterday's ordinary meeting, calling it an opportunity to formalise countless discussions around long-term water security.
"We know that we can increase our water security by a gigalitre here and there, but we've got more than $1 billion in industry waiting to be unlocked around Charlton and Wellcamp, and that means jobs for people in our region," she said.
"Our incremental water increases won't unlock our potential.
"We need something big, something generational and I'm talking about hundreds of gigalitres."
Cr Vonhoff said all long-term options needed to laid out by higher levels of government, including desalination and even new dam projects.
"We are Australia's future inland hub, if we can just add water," she said.
"Let's extract that commitment that every option be put on the table and eliminate them one-by-one until the best water source for the Darling Downs is identified.
"Is that desalination, bringing back Nathan Dam, a national water grid?
"We might have our own personal opinions, but opinions need to be supported by evidence and opinions alone can't support massive infrastructure spending."
The motion came just hours after Mayor Paul Antonio used a rare mayoral minute to pass through the formation of a water alliance between Southern Downs, Western Downs and Tenterfield Councils.