Taking the pressure of the water supply

By YVONNE McLEAN

SUBURB by suburb, the Gold Coast City Council will speed up its work on water supply infrastructure to reduce water pressure.

The work has been estimated to save a staggering 7500 megalitres a year.

Trial runs on pressure reduction have already been carried out at one or two suburbs - Burleigh Waters and Beenleigh.

According to council's water supply spokesperson, Cr Daphne McDonald, few comments were made on a change to pressure from the tap and those who did notice the difference applauded the initiative.

"The sudden visit of Prime Minister John Howard to the Hinze Dam last week and his commitment of $3.1 million towards the cost of de-pressuring to conserve a huge amount of water, has made it possible to proceed with the work," Cr McDonald said.

"For some years council officers under the direction of Gold Coast Water's Shaun Cox have drawn up a water conservation regime which has captured the attention of authorities here and overseas, yet Federal Government recognition for our initiatives let alone financial backing for water conservation strategies has been almost non-existant. I know we can thank the Member for McPherson Margaret May for the Prime Minister's visit and his funding promise.

"Her lobbying has been an enormous help," she said.

Earlier this year, Mrs May had arranged for a city council delegation to Canberra to discuss urgent Gold Coast matters, including water supply.

"I think that started the ball rolling," Cr McDonald said.

The estimated cost of depressuring across the city (high-rise apartments are not included) is more than $9 million.

Cr McDonald said ratepayers would not bear the cost of the de-pressuring.

According to Cr McDonald the de-pressuring project would also tackle leakage from water pipes caused by the present high pressure throughout the system.

"There need be no fears that essential services such as fire-fighting could be affected by a lower pressure. Computer technology will ensure that high pressure is restored immediately it is required," she said.

The long-time chairperson of the council's water sustainable committee, Cr McDonald has been the up-front voice of water usage policies including on restrictions, and participating in on-going water conservation programs in schools, always preaching that water is not a gift but a finite commodity like pure gold.

"For such a long time it seemed that the city council was going it alone in our water strategies, but now to my intense joy we have the south-east authorities joing together under the State Government's banner and at long last a Federal Government funding boost.

"What pleases me enormously is that the dedication of our water staff and their expertise has won Federal recognition."



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