Water plan taps into resistance
By YVONNE McLEAN
GOLD Coast residents who have responded to a questionnaire being circulated on the feasibility of pumping treated wastewater into the Hinze Dam have given the idea the thumbs down ? a resounding 'no'.
It was reported in the Gold Coast Mail (21/10) that council was looking into the feasibility of pumping recycled water from its treatment works into the dam's upper reaches to be absorbed into the potable supply.
In the same report, the council's own water supply spokesperson, Cr Daphne Mcdonald, described the option as "highly dangerous".
She said should the option be taken up a health hazard could occur, no matter to what high tertiary level the wastewater was treated.
The only way to reuse treated wastewater was through the twopipes and taps system into the garden, she said.
This week, Cr McDonald said public reaction to the idea was so far very much against it.
"However, I must say such an option would only be undertaken in an emergency situation," she said.
Meantime, detailed investigation into the most suitable site for the establishment of a desalination plant (removing salt from seawater to render it potable) has been narrowed down from the original 13 possibles, to three, at Tugun, and close to the treatment works at Coombabah and Pimpama.
The next phase towards the final choice includes: geotechnical investigations, environmental assessments, seawater quality testing, power supply, and most important of all according to Cr McDonald, community consultation.
"At this stage, our Gold Coast Water officers have not put a price tag on desalination, but we know it will be high.
"However, if it's a choice of pumping recycled water to the Hinze reservoir or proceeding with desalination, I am sure the community would go for desalination, but this too would be an emergency source," she said.
Cr McDonald said at this stage, no relaxing of the present restricted hosing hours (watering is illegal between 7am and 7pm) would be considered.
Rainfall has not improved the capacity of the main reservoir, Wivenhoe, and the Hinze Dam had fallen from 78 to 76 per cent capacity - this could improve with further heavy downpours.
"We now live in a land where a devastating drought could occur at any time. During the past weeks, rain has been a boon in saving water to keep gardens alive, but it has done little to replenish the main supply sources. Water conservation required by everyone is no longer a fleeting inconvenience, but a lifetime habit," she said.