Over the course of the year the Queensland Water Directorate held blind taste tests at six regional events with the six regional finalists battling it out at the qldwater Innovation Forum at the Maroochy RSL on Thursday, 5 November 2015.
With over 350 public water supply schemes spread across Queensland, we are both blessed and cursed with diversity in water quality. Some Great Artesian Basin source waters require little or no treatment to meet Australian Drinking Water Guideline standards, while others from highly impacted catchments need a lot of work.
Central Queensland – Livingstone Shire Council
Less than two months after Tropical Cyclone Marcia wreaked havoc in Yeppoon, Livingstone Shire Council took out the first regional final of the 2015 Ixom Best of the Best Queensland Water Taste Test. Livingstone Shire Council’s Woodbury Water Treatment Plant sources its water from the dunal fed aquifer in Byfield National Park. It is well recognised as being some of the purest water in Australia so it is not surprising that it has made it through to this year’s final.
Western Queensland – Barcaldine Regional Council
Barcaldine Regional Council delivers water and sewage services to the five small towns of Alpha, Aramac, Barcaldine, Jericho and Muttaburra. Known as the Garden City of the West, Barcaldine’s water is sourced from the Great Artesian Basin and supplied by two bores at a temperature of about 47°C. No treatment is needed to comply with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. As an open ended system, water runs into two storage reservoirs which overflows into Lagoon Creek. This water is not lost, with overflows used on roadworks. Barcaldine Mayor Rob Chandler said tourists and visitors to town often commented on how good the water is.
Far North Queensland – Cairns Regional Council
Cairns Regional Council reclaimed the title to the top drop in Far North Queensland. Mountain View water is sourced from a tropical mountain creek, and you could not ask for a more pristine water supply. Water from the Little Mulgrave River supplies 30 connections in a rural locality to the south-west of Cairns. Water passes through a 50-micron pre-filter screen then through an additional two sets of bag filters, which screen down to 1-micron (or one thousandth of a millimeter), before passing through a UV disinfection system, and into the water storage reservoirs. Once in the storage reservoirs the water disinfection is automatically sampled, monitored and maintained with residual chlorination up to the delivery through the network to consumers.
North Queensland – Townsville City Council
Townsville City Council’s Ross River scheme claimed the North Queensland title. Ross River Dam stores water before releasing it to the Douglas WTP for treatment. With a catchment area of 750 km2 and a capacity of 233 187 ML, Ross River Dam is Townsville’s primary water source. During extended drought periods, if the water level in Ross River Dam is below 10 per cent of capacity, supplementary water supply is sourced from the Burdekin Haughton Water Supply Scheme (BHWSS) via the Haughton pipeline and pumping station.
Mark Harvey, Manager of Water Operations at Townsville Water said Council spends plenty of time making sure the water meets the customer’s expectations and it was nice to receive acknowledgement that they deliver a good tasting product.
South East Queensland – City of Gold Coast
The City of Gold Coast supplies water to 238,000 homes and include an advanced recycled water treatment plant at Pimpama, 3168 kilometres of water mains, 57 water pump stations, 58 water supply reservoirs and five re-chlorination facilities. Gold Coast purchases water from the State Government’s bulk water supply which includes the Hinze Dam and Tugun Desalination Plant.
South West Queensland – Balonne Shire Council’s Dirranbandi Scheme
Balonne Shire Council’s Dirranbandi and St George schemes took out the first and second place of the SWQ competition at the Local Government Association Queensland Bush Councils Convention. Dirranbandi gets its water from the Balonne Minor River and uses conventional water treatment processes like alum, magnafloc and filtration before the water is distributed to residents. During times of higher use, the river water is shandied with 25% of Great Artesian Basin bore water. Balonne Shire Council Mayor, Councillor Donna Stewart, said it was gratifying for the council that the community of Dirranbandi can be confident and assured that they have the best drinking water in the South West.
While this competition proudly started in Queensland, it has grown significantly and the winner will also earn the right to compete in the 2016 Water of Origin and national competitions, conducted by the Water Industry Operators Association of Australia and again supported by Ixom.
Good luck to all the contestants, and may the best water win!