COMMON GOAL: Toowoomba mayor Paul Antonio, Western Downs mayor Paul McVeigh, Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie and Tenterfield Shire councillor Gary Verri met in Warwick on Thursday to progress water discussions.
COMMON GOAL: Toowoomba mayor Paul Antonio, Western Downs mayor Paul McVeigh, Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie and Tenterfield Shire councillor Gary Verri met in Warwick on Thursday to progress water discussions. Matthew Purcell

Bold plan in the pipeline

A SHELVED scheme is being brought back into consideration with four councils working together to ensure water security for future generations.

The councils are hoping to tap into an under-utilised water source right on our doorstep.

Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie, Toowoomba mayor Paul Antonio, Western Downs mayor Paul McVeigh and Tenterfield councillor Gary Verri met in Warwick earlier today to discuss a proposal to pump water from the Clarence River in NSW.

Utilising the Maryland Dam site on the Mt Lindesay Rd, Cr Dobie said they wish to construct a pipeline that could gravity feed water across the region.

The plan is not a new one - it has been around since the 1980s.

"Talking today, all our regions are looking to expand industrially and agriculturally,” mayor Dobie said.

"Here's an opportunity, where to some degree, that water is not allocated yet. Do we have an opportunity to access that water and use it in our region, which is a growing region?

"Paul (Antonio) has been talking to Peter Petty (Tenterfield mayor), as we have too, about how we get access to this water that starts so close to us.

"If we continue to grow we need that long term water security across our region. This is about in 15-20 years ensuring we have the water security.”

Cr Antonio said that Toowoomba faced a similar crisis a decade ago that they've managed to overcome.

"The thought (of a pipeline) has been intensifying simply because of the troubles that Warwick are in currently, the whole Southern Downs,” he said.

"We faced that back in 2009 when our dams dropped to 7.8 per cent in December '09. We have done a lot of things, particularly our predecessors.

"We now have built safety and I think there's a lesson to be learnt from what we had to do in that crisis.

"Today is about making absolutely sure that we can in fact prepare for what's happening here. People want to live in Stanthorpe, want to live in Warwick, Dalby, Toowoomba and Tenterfield.

"If we would just get that water it would make a profound difference to the potential of this region,” he said.

Post-election on Saturday, Cr Antonio said they'll begin to advocate to the powers that be.

"I think from here it'll be a matter of advocacy. I think we'll be heading off to Canberra, off to Brisbane and to Sydney to talk to our respective government's to see if they'd be prepared to join us on this journey.

"This journey is about the future. It's not about this crisis we have now.”

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