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Following a significant decline in rainfall, the Gladstone Region was drought declared by the Queensland Government on 1 May 2019. Drought conditions have affected Miriam Vale’s primary water source, Baffle Creek, and Gladstone Regional Council is currently scoping a solution to improve water security for the Miriam Vale township.
It is important to understand that Council is acting quickly to source a solution and strategies are in place to ensure residents will continue to have access to safe drinking water.
Council has explored solutions to safely supplement the existing water source. This has included the identification of an alternate water source, the installation of a bore and subsequent testing to determine quality and production yield.
To ensure quality, safety and reliability, water testing is required to be conducted over thirty days. Whilst testing occurs, Council will supplement the water supply by trucking water to the Miriam Vale Water Treatment Plant. You may notice up to six water trucks per day during the testing period.
The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted the region will continue to experience dry conditions up to late 2019, so the careful use of our water supply during drought conditions is vital for our community.
Council's Drought Management Plan requires the implementation of water restrictions to safely manage the region's water supply. With the current conditions, water restrictions will be implemented in Miriam Vale and Council will consult with the community to discuss these restrictions and other water saving initiatives.
Council will support the community through an education program and will work collaboratively to identify water saving initiatives with the community. By working together and being conscious of our usage, we can ensure we have a sustainable water supply for our community.
Thank you to community members who attended Gladstone Regional Council’s Miriam Vale Water Supply Security information session on Wednesday 25 September and providing your valuable feedback and insights on water saving initiatives. The key items have been summarised below:
Drinking water must be handled in a safe and hygienic manner. This information will provide advice to those required to buy water to ensure they are purchasing safe water.
Before ordering a load
- Check that the water carrier business has a current license with Council prior to ordering
- Ask where the water will come from. It must come from an approved source such as a Council standpipe.
Before a load of water arrives
- Clean your tank. The sediment in your tank will be disturbed when the new water is added, this may make the water taste unpleasant and/or have an odour
- If the tank hasn’t been cleaned, or there is a high algal content in the tank, you may notice an unpleasant taste and odour occurring when the tank is refilled. This is caused by a chemical reaction between organic matter and chlorine in the water.
Upon arrival of the load
- Check the carrier has the licence number and a DRINKING WATER ONLY sign clearly marked on the tank
- If you are concerned about the water, ask for a sample before accepting the load
- The water should be clear; however, it may taste of chlorine if it has come from a treated supply
- If the water is not clear and has a taste other than chlorine, do not accept the load.
After receiving the load
- If the water has developed an undesirable taste, this may be due to the mixing of sediment, sludge and algae from within your tank
- If possible, allow the water to settle for 24-48 hours before drinking
- Any taste of chlorine should subside after a couple of days.
You can improve your water quality by:
- Establishing a regular cleaning program for the roof, gutters and tanks, as this will help reduce the organic load and bacterial contamination of the water supply
- Installing "first flush" devices to divert the first run-off from the roof into the tank after a long dry period. The first water washed from the roof contains higher levels of contaminants from dust, leaves, bird droppings etc. and is best that this is diverted away from the water tank
- Utilising filters to reduce the sediment and organic matter contamination. Filters should be well-maintained and replaced regularly
- Treating your water further through either boiling, ultra-violet treatment, chlorination or ozone, to destroy any bacterial contamination.
Water saving initiatives
- Measuring water consumption via water meter
- Using grey water on gardens and lawns
- Water timers on outdoor taps
- Full load when washing
- Water saving showerheads
- Education program for young people/in schools
- Stop-start showers
- Signage in public areas reminding tourists of water restrictions
- Hand watering lawn instead of using a sprinkler
- Catch water leaking out of tap/collect water from shower
- Investigate using hand sanitizer in public toilets
- Using the half flush function on toilets
- Half of the park toilets switched over to ½ flush functionality only
- Water play feature will remain turned off at Alf Larson Lions Park
Use minimal water for food preparation, e.g. don't run water to defrost or rinse food.
Use waterless products and collect greywater to reuse where possible.
Dual flush toilets use 5 litres of water on average instead of 11 litres used by older, single flush toilets.
Water, tea and coffee.
Washing up in the sink or single use of dishwasher, which uses 13 litres per cycle.
Teeth and hygiene
Don't let taps run for too long or at full flow. Use waterless hand sanitiser instead.
Small to medium domestic pets.
Take short, stop-start showers using a water efficient showerhead. AAA rated showerheads use only 7.5 litres of water per minute on average. Water efficient showerhead - 4 mins. Non water efficient showerhead - 2 mins.
AAAA rated front loading washing machines use 40 litres of water per load instead of 130 litres of water per load used by top loading machines.
Garden and outdoor areas
Use a broom to clean outdoor surfaces. Blanket topsoil with a layer of mulch to reduce evaporation.
- Only turn the dishwasher on when you have a full load
- Use the washing machine when you have a full load of washing
- Install water saving taps or flow restrictors
- Check for leaking taps - leaking taps can waste up to 200 litres of water a day
- Install a water saving shower head in the bathroom
- Use a shower timer to minimise water usage
- Collect water when showering and reuse greywater in the garden
- Check for a leaking toilet - on average a leaky toilet can waste 308 litres per week.
- Pets and Animals
- Community Development
- Community Investment