Water pipeline a better plan

A PIPELINE from Lake Awoonga to Agnes Water and nearby towns would have been a better option than the desalination plant now being built, according to MP Rob Messenger.

The Member for Burnett said Gladstone Regional Council had not properly considered the costs and benefits of other options, including a pipeline that would pump water from Lake Awoonga to all Discovery Coast communities.

At a meeting in January, council chief executive officer Graeme Kanofski said: “It is my understanding that all of the previous studies involving a pipeline heading south from Lake Awoonga only considered Agnes Water as the end supply point. No consideration appears to have been given to what other areas could be serviced along the pipeline route or even further south, east or west of it.”

Mr Messenger said an estimated $60 million pipeline that went to areas such as Miriam Vale, Turkey Beach and Bororen, as well as Agnes Water, would be more financially responsible than the $43 million Agnes Water desalination plant.

“The fact that the council now realises that it needs a pipeline and is still happy to back the building and then privatisation of a desalination plant which will produce the most expensive water in mainland Australia, is sheer madness and a waste of tax and ratepayers’ money,” Mr Messenger said.

Council acting chief executive officer Cale Dendle said at the time of approving the desalination plant, the option of a pipeline had been considered extensively but the costs were prohibitive.

“One option we are considering is trying to better connect the Gladstone region to a road network and if that road network can be achieved, a pipeline will run along with it. That’s a 20- to 25-year project,” he said.

Mr Dendle said in the long-term, the council needed to consider the possibility of building both the pipeline and the desalination plant to ensure supply to areas such as Miriam Vale, Bororen and Turkey Beach.

At the January meeting, the council voted to start a study into a pipeline to those areas by the end of the council’s term.

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