The key two key water storages supplying south east Queensland are far from filled, but 26 dams scattered across the region have all taken a big gulp form rain.
The key two key water storages supplying south east Queensland are far from filled, but 26 dams scattered across the region have all taken a big gulp form rain.

Dams still need a good drink

The key two key water storages supplying south east Queensland are far from filled, but 26 dams scattered across the region have all taken a big gulp from the February rains and the year ahead looks brighter for out water supply.

While Queenslanders are mopping up from the deluge, Seqwater officials who look after 26 dams are giving a reserved welcome to the rain, warning a whole lot more is needed to secure a healthy water supply.

The key dam, Wivenhoe, was down to 42 per cent when the serious rain began in early February and today is past 50 per cent capacity.

But the dam levels still hover around those low levels it was recording during the drought leading up to the 2010/11 floods.

Our water supply is still low enough for us to pipe up around 80 million litres a day from the Gold Coast Desalination Plant to pour into our water system.

That desalination plant was part of the much maligned water grid devised by the Beattie Government a decade and a half ago.

The problem for Wivenhoe and Somerset Dam is that falls in the catchment area which spreads across 7000 square kilometres have only averaged around 200mm.

On the Gold and Sunshine Coast the falls were nearly double that.

Seqwater says the smaller dams such as Borumba Dam near Gympie and the Hinze Dam on the Gold Coast hinterland received bigger inflows and look a lot healthier.

"We have 10 dams currently spilling," a spokesperson said.

The Hinze Dam is full to the brim and ready to spill over on the weekend. Picture: Glenn Hampson
The Hinze Dam is full to the brim and ready to spill over on the weekend. Picture: Glenn Hampson

"The majority of Grid dams at or near capacity are our smaller storages on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast."

The array of tributaries and creeks which feed into the south east's water systems will continue to provide extra water in all dams in the days ahead.

But more rain will be needed in the weeks ahead, which is possible even if forecasts are light.

That rain would increase run off into our dams because sodden ground won't absorb much more water.

But Seqwater says out catchments dry out quickly, so more rain would have to come within two to three weeks to take advantage of the February falls.

The Water Grid storage volume has increase by approximately 221,800 ML (or 10.1%) since inflows commenced on February 3.


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