Lower dam level eases flood fears
SOMERSET Regional Council mayor Graeme Lehmann believes current water releases from Wivenhoe Dam are critical to protect landholders as south-east Queensland's storm season beckons.
About 400 megalitres of water have been released each day for the past two weeks by SEQ Water, leaving the current dam level at 81.5% of its capacity.
SEQ Water has confirmed the current releases are part of standard operational procedures and not a response to rainfall predictions.
Cr Lehmann said, regardless of the reason, he is happy with the move and believes it should continue for a while to come.
"I think it's a positive step to see that they're at least doing that. They need to keep the dam at a lower level, with a forecast of the possibility of higher rainfalls coming," he said. "I'd like to see it held a little bit lower than it normally is. We'd at least have a bit more of a safety barrier then.
"If it was kept under 50% of the full supply level I'd be happy.
"If we do start to get heavy rainfalls, at least we don't have to get rid of all that water."
Natural Resources Minister Rachael Nolan said the government had taken the decision not to temporarily lower the water levels of Wivenhoe Dam and North Pine Dam following briefings from the Bureau of Meteorology.
"Based on this, we are acting in line with the recommendations of the Flood Commission's interim report and won't be lowering the level at either Wivenhoe or North Pine Dam at this time," Ms Nolan said.
Cr Lehmann admitted dam management was a difficult issue but decisions should lean towards less water rather than more.
"I understand we have to be careful we don't move into a dry season and run out of water then," he said.
"That is a chance we have to take.
"We have got the recycled water pipeline and desalination plant that could be used if that did happen."