Fears of 'Traveston without dam'

THE SPECTRE of Traveston Dam has been raised from the grave, with the Queensland Water Commission once again investigating taking Mary River water to supply south-east Queensland.

With Wivenhoe Dam being lowered to 75 per cent capacity in the wake of the devastating floods, the commission met with conservation groups, and Gympie and Sunshine Coast regional councils, last week to discuss the long-term water security of the south-east corner.

But Wide Bay Conservation Council vice-president Roger Currie, who had a representative at the meeting, said a solution for Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast's water woes could come at a heavy cost to communities relying on the Mary River.

“It was a meeting to discuss the potential of extra water being taken from the Mary River to Brisbane,” Mr Currie said. “It's like Traveston without the dam.”

While 6600 megalitres of Mary River Valley catchment water is already allocated to go to the south-east, Mr Currie said he believed the meeting was held to investigate boosting the figure.

“There's a strategic reserve of 150,000 megalitres in the Mary River system plan and politically, they might be lining up to get their hands on that,” he said.

“They were still talking about using the Mary further down the track for Brisbane, pointing the finger at the Fraser Coast region to get water from Paradise Dam.”

A Queensland Water Commission spokesperson confirmed discussions had taken place as part of a “collaborative process” to explore water supply potential in the Mary River Valley catchment.

They also confirmed the SEQ Water Strategy included options such as increasing the volume of supply from the Mary Valley catchment for “downstream rural and urban users such as Gympie”.

However, the department refused to be drawn on whether Brisbane would also be considered in line to receive the Mary's water.

“As there are currently no requirements for additional water supplies until after 2022, there are no plans in place to source additional water from the Mary Valley,” the spokesperson said.

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