South East Queensland is a popular place, but a growing population and less rain over our major dams is putting pressure on our drinking water supplies.
Right now, we’re in a drinking water supply drought. While the grass may look green in the city, we’re not getting the rain where we need it over our largest and most important dam catchment, Lake Wivenhoe.

In South East Queensland we have a network of dams, water treatment plants, water supply pipelines and more which form what we call the SEQ Water Grid. This allows Seqwater to move treated drinking water around the region. 

Seqwater is the region’s bulk water supply authority. They source, store, treat and supply bulk drinking water using the SEQ Water Grid. Here at Urban Utilities, we supply this treated drinking water via our network of pipes, pumps and reservoirs to your home and tap, We also work together with Seqwater and other water service providers across South East Queensland to ensure water security for the future. 

View a map of the SEQ water grid - Here you can see grid-connected communities and off-grid communities. In our off grid communities, water is sourced and treated locally, then distributed to households and businesses.

The combined SEQ Water Grid dam levels are low
  • The combined level of the drinking water dams in South East Queensland is currently below 60 per cent.
  • Wivenhoe Dam supplies around half of the South East’s water supply and it’s close to its lowest level in 10 years, at just over 40 per cent.
It’s not raining where we need it
  • We haven't been receiving decent inflows into our major dams, and without this, water storage levels will continue to drop. 
  • In an unpredictable climate like ours, we’re likely to have more and longer lasting droughts in the future.
Our population is growing
  • Our population is expected to grow by around two million people in South East Queensland over the next 25 years. Source: Queensland Government Statistician Office
There’s no new water
  • Despite the growing population, we have the same amount of water on the planet now as there was when dinosaurs roamed. This demand for water is even more reason for us to protect this precious natural resource. 
We all have a role to play
  • We all need to do our bit now by continuing to save water at home and work. With Wivenhoe Dam close to its lowest level in 10 years, now is the time for us all to step up our efforts and reduce our water use.
  • There’s lots of things we can do to save water around our homes and gardens. Check out our tips here

We've got a water security plan to make sure we’ve got enough drinking water for the future and keep the lifestyle we love.
What is water security?

It’s about having enough water for every person, business and industry and agriculture in South East Queensland.

Urban Utilities and Seqwater have been working together with other South East Queensland water service providers and planning for this all along because we know how vital water is for our families, our food, our economy and our lifestyle.

We’ve acted on learnings from the Millennium Drought and we’ve got the world leading SEQ Water Grid and access to climate-independent water supplies.

Our water security plan includes:
  • Managing our water - carefully managing the water in our dams, using the South East Queensland Water Grid to move water around the region where and when we need it.
  • Saving water - continuing to save water in our homes and businesses, recycling water to be used for industry, agriculture and irrigation, and introducing water restrictions if needed.
  • Supplementing our water - taking pressure off our water storages using climate-independent sources of water including the Gold Coast desalination plant and purified recycled water from the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme. Seqwater’s Gold Coast Desalination Plant is producing water now and can supplement around 15 per cent of our region’s drinking water supply. A part of the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme is also producing a small volume of purified recycled water to supply to industry and power stations to take pressure off Wivenhoe Dam. Read more about desalination and purified recycled water here
Off grid communities

Urban Utilities is the water service provider for Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset. Some of these regions include communities not connected to the SEQ Water Grid but they have their own local water sources and water treatment plants. 

Find out more

You can find out more about South East Queensland’s Water Security Program and Drought Response Plan at seqwater.com.au/waterforlife

So, what is the plan for our drought response? 

Our drought response approach is adaptive to allow actions and triggers to adjust to demand, climate, severity of drought and other external factors. The Drought Response Plan for the South East is triggered when the SEQ Water Grid dam levels fall below 60 per cent. 

We all need to do our bit now by continuing to save water at home and work, and water restrictions will be introduced as our dam levels continue to drop.  Under South East Queensland’s water security plan, water restrictions are introduced when the SEQ Water Grid levels fall to 50 per cent. The plan is flexible and takes into account seasonal conditions at the time.

What exactly is the SEQ Water Grid?

The SEQ Water Grid is a bulk water supply network of dams, water treatment plants, water supply pipelines and more which allows Seqwater to move treated drinking water around South East Queensland. Right now, Seqwater is taking the pressure off Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams by moving treated drinking water from coastal dams to the central regions via the SEQ Water Grid. The SEQ Water Grid can supplement but not completely replace local water supplies.

Are there communities not connected to the SEQ Water Grid? 

Yes, we call these off-grid communities. Seqwater supplies drinking water to 53,000 people living in 16 off-grid communities across the South East. The water for these communities is sourced and treated locally, then distributed to households and businesses.

What is the Water Security Program?

As the bulk water supplier, Seqwater publishes the Water Security Program which outlines the plan for providing the region's drinking water over the next 30 years, including during times of drought and flood. Urban Utilities and other water service providers work closely with Seqwater to ensure we have enough drinking water for the future. 

How does Urban Utilities work with Seqwater?

Seqwater is the region’s bulk water supply authority. Seqwater sources, stores, treats and supplies bulk drinking water using the SEQ Water Grid. Here at Urban Utilities we are your local water service provider for the regions of Brisbane, Ipswich, Somerset, Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley and we manage the supply of this treated drinking water to your home and tap. We work together with Seqwater and other water service providers across SEQ to ensure water security for the future.

What is a drinking water supply drought? 

Right now, we’re in a drinking water supply drought. The combined level of the drinking water dams in South East Queensland is currently below 60 per cent, which triggered the activations of the region’s Drought Response Plan.

While the grass may look green in the city, we’re not getting the rain where we need it - over our largest and most important dam catchment, Lake Wivenhoe.

We all need to do our bit now by continuing to save water at home and work, and water restrictions will be introduced as our dam levels continue to drop.