Managing urban demand for water

Water Demand Management Programs over the last few years have been successful in significantly reducing Toowoomba’s residential water consumption (litres per person per day). Check the current water consumption figures.

Historical figures:

  • 238 L/p/day in second half of 2003-04
  • 210 L/p/d  for 2004/5

Level 4, introduced August 2005, restricted outside watering to buckets only. This produced the biggest single drop in residential water use. Level 5 was introduced in September 2006 prohibiting all external watering from town water supplies. The community responded well.

  • 128 L/p/day in corresponding period in 2007-08
  • 125 L/p/d averaged between 2008-2010 - Non residential water use declined during this period by a similar proportion. 

A new water restrictions framework similar to the one used by SEQ was adopted by Toowoomba Regional Council in December 2009. 

With the commissioning of the pipeline from Wivenhoe Dam to Cressbrook Dam (January 2010), areas reliant on Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply came under Extreme Level restrictions. Following heavy rains in February these restrictions were eased to High Level, then Medium Level, and eventually moved to Permanent Conservation Measures by December of 2010.

On the face of it, these figures suggest that Toowoomba would be able to meet the water needs of its growing population by demand management alone.  However there are some good reasons why a continued Demand Management Program will not be enough to meet the water needs of our growing population:

  1. A review by the Queensland Government reduced the safe yield of our existing dams (the amount of water we can safely take out each year) by about 28%. This means that Toowoomba's supplied area has been overdrawing from our water supplies, and living on borrowed time, since about 1998.
  2. The decrease in per capita water consumption gained over the first few years of the program may be difficult to maintain over an extended period.
  3. To maintain consumption at a conservative level the community will need to continue its commitment to WaterWise behaviours.

Toowoomba Regional Council’s Demand Management Program is only one tool for ensuring the sustainability of our water supplies by reducing the urban demand for water. The program utilises a range of strategies including:

  • education and promoting community awareness ,
  • incentive for installing water efficient shower fittings,
  • working with industry to reduce water consumption
  • introduction of a WaterWise Plumbing Regulation, 
  • implementing water conservation plans to reduce water use in Council parks, gardens and sporting fields
  • undertaking a Water Wise makeover of Council buildings.
  • adoption of a revised Water Restrictions Framework
  • regular review of water pricing policy.

Council has participated in State initiatives such as:

  • Home WaterWise Rebate Program (2006-8) boosting the uptake of Council's rebate programs
  • Home WaterWise Service (completed in 2008),
  • Business Water Efficiency Program (completed in 2008) and the
  • SEQ Pressure and Leakage Management Project.  

These State Government programs have now ended, with the exception of the Council's own regular repair and maintenance program of water infrastructure across the region. 

For more information on Toowoomba Regional Council’s Water Demand Management Program contact council and ask for WaterWise.


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