WORK has begun on a new Wivenhoe Dam pump station that will deliver water to the drought-stricken Toowoomba region, Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Stirling Hinchliffe announced.
Mr Hinchliffe said when complete the station will pump water to Toowoomba at a rate of 490 litres per second.
He said two remote-controlled pumps will move water through the 38-kilometre pipeline at a force roughly 12.5 times the normal household water pressure.
“We are right on track to securing the water supply future for Toowoomba on time and on budget,” Minister Hinchliffe said.
“Without this pipeline, the situation is grim. Despite the passing of an extraordinary wet season for much of South East Queensland, there is currently less water in the three dams which feed Toowoomba than the previous year.
“Part of our response, as a government, is this pipeline. I’m delighted with progress.
“Not only are we delivering on our commitment to jobs but we are delivering vital infrastructure projects for the State on budget and on time.’’
The smaller of the pumps will be housed on a 45 metre-long jetty suspended over Wivenhoe Dam. It will extract water from the dam and deliver it over a short distance to the bigger pump, powered by an 1850 kilowatt motor.
The larger pump will deliver the water over the length of the pipeline, traversing challenging terrain, including a hill 265 metres above sea level.
Member for Toowoomba North Kerry Shine said the pumps will operate non-stop for 12-18 months after the pipeline is commissioned early in 2010 to raise the water level in Cressbrook Dam to more than 20 per cent. Cressbrook is currently the lowest of the three Toowoomba dam levels at 8.7 per cent of its capacity (as at 4 August 2009).
“Work on the intake jetty and its supporting pylons requires a large barge to be positioned in Wivenhoe Dam, where scuba divers will carry out any underwater activities,’’ Mr Shine said. “Close to 90 per cent of pipe is now in the ground with around five kilometres left to be laid.