Rockhampton Regional Council engaged AECOM to undertake a Preliminary Evaluation and Business Case in accordance with Queensland Treasury’s Project Assurance Framework. The Evaluation and Business Case will be used to provide evidence to support the assessment and identification of a preferred water security option, assist in securing funding and ensure the project is considered investment-ready.
The township of Mount Morgan is located in the Rockhampton Regional Council Local Government Area and, as of the 2016 census, has a population of 1963. An existing water treatment plant supplies the community with potable water and the No. 7 Dam, located on the Dee River, supplies raw water to the treatment plant. Local community members and visitors also use the dam for recreational purposes.
Extended drought since late 2017 has led to Mount Morgan’s water supply failure – (the third failure or near failure of the water supply scheme in the past 20 years. Following the implementation of all available water restriction measures, as the dam storage level approached 8%, a decision was made to start emergency supply. This decision was mainly due to community concerns about the deteriorating raw water quality, but also because of consideration of environmental values at the dam. After the completion of a successful trial to ensure the feasibility of tanker deliveries to the Mount Morgan Water Treatment Plant, tanker deliveries of drinking water from Gracemere to Mount Morgan started in March 2021.
AECOM has a long history of support to the Council including the completion of Mount Morgan water supply assessments in 2000 and 2008. In addition, AECOM has supported the Council with works relating to No. 7 Dam, from the 1998 dam raising to more recent seepage analysis and safety inspections.
As a result of the current emergency water supply situation and longer-term constraints on development within the Mount Morgan region, the Council has initiated the Mount Morgan Water Supply Security (MMWSS) project. The key objectives of the project are to:
- promptly address the immediate water supply issues to the township of Mount Morgan
- consider a secure long-term water supply to Mount Morgan, including considering improved water security to the greater region
- provide a solution that supports the future growth and development of the Mount Morgan region.
The key outcomes to be achieved upon the completion of the MMWSS project are:
- Preliminary Evaluation – consideration of all available infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions and shortlisting a minimum of two options to take to Business Case phase.
- Business Case – detailed assessment of shortlisted options to inform recommendation of a preferred option for detailed design and application of funding from State and Federal Government.
- The evaluation and business case works will be carried out under Queensland Treasury’s Project Assessment Framework.
This business case is the first step in long-term water security for the community.