THE most viable option for securing a more reliable water supply for Port Douglas and Mossman communities will be determined this year.
Douglas Shire Council is conducting a feasibility analysis on all proposed water security solutions, including an alternate intake and bulk raw water storage, with plans to progress the best solution to shovel-ready status to enable grant funding applications to commence.
Councillors recognised the importance of water security when adopting the 2021/22 Annual Budget today, putting $3.73 million towards working on the water network and water quality.
Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said addressing the water supply issues would pave the way for more sustainable economic growth.
“Staff have done significant work by looking into a number of possible options and we believe we will have a strong case for funding when the appropriate detailed design work is completed,” he said.
“Our plan is to progress our investigations into a 1GL water storage solution while we continue to obtain the relevant permits for a second intake along the Mossman River, then bring one of these solutions forward to shovel-ready status.
“This will allow us to lobby our State and Federal Governments for funding to secure our long-term water security which is essential for economic growth and prosperity.”
Douglas Shire Council and the State Government prepared the Regional Water Supply Security Assessment (RWSSA) report in 2018.
Based on current average water use and projected population growth, the demand for water by the Mossman-Port Douglas communities will reach the limit of Council’s water licence from Rex Creek by 2025-2026.
Historically, the allowable take of water from Rex Creek has been reduced by the dry season, which typically extends from May to October, coinciding with peak tourism season and increased demand. In recent years, hot seasonal weather has extended late into December.
Water restrictions can have an impact on tourism-dependant hotels, resorts and short-term accommodation providers in the Shire, along with the landscaping and horticultural-based businesses that service them.
We can play an essential role in providing and advocating for infrastructure that contributes to a healthy economic base from which the community and businesses can grow and prosper.
Council has also committed $800,000 towards continuing the rollout of smart water meters to move beyond Port Douglas and include Mossman and surrounding areas.
As part of its water education initiatives, Council will be releasing a series of educational videos and imagery via a new Water & Wastewater webpage.