Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

DAM PLAN: Traveston Crossing Dam 10 Years on; A Decade after Former QLD Premier Peter Beattie Announced Traveston Crossing Dam, Mary River Catchment Co-Ordinating Committee Chairman Ian Mackay Reflects

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

DAM PLAN: Traveston Crossing Dam 10 Years on; A Decade after Former QLD Premier Peter Beattie Announced Traveston Crossing Dam, Mary River Catchment Co-Ordinating Committee Chairman Ian Mackay Reflects

Article excerpt

IT'S 10 years ago this week that Peter Beattie took Gympie mayor Mick Venardos up in a helicopter and unveiled plans for a huge dam on the Mary River at Traveston Crossing, upstream of Gympie.

It's also nearly 25 years since the State Government initiated a lengthy investigation into possible dam sites to provide water for a growing Sunshine Coast. Neither resulted in a dam being built although a dam was touted as absolutely imperative in both instances.

In 1991, the Baroon Pocket Dam on Obi Obi Ck was not even a decade into its life, yet in October that year, Maroochy Shire Council chairman Fred Murray told the Sunshine Coast Daily that "a new dam must open by the year 2000 when massive population growth would overwhelm the region's major supplier Baroon Pocket Dam".

In 1991, there were no water meters installed on the Sunshine Coast. Nor were there dual flush toilets or greywater re-use systems. Rainwater tanks were generally only found in more rural areas.

Fred Murray's pessimism was based on the amount being consumed. For the 1991 study it was accepted as 530 litres per person per day, a figure that incensed hinterland dwellers with rainwater tanks.

At that consumption rate, a 22000L (5000 gallon) rainwater tank would serve a family of four less than a fortnight.

The introduction of the Waterwise program, that tackled what was becoming known as "demand management", as well as the introduction of water meters and a changed pricing structure started the downward turn in water consumption figures. By the time Traveston Dam was on the agenda, planners were talking of consumption of 350 litres per person per day with an aim to lower this even further to about 270 litres.

At the height of the Traveston Dam campaign, Brisbane had reduced its consumption rate to almost 150 litres per person per day and letters to the Courier Mail at the time suggested that was not a hardship.

When Peter Beattie announced Traveston Dam, it was against a backdrop of drying dams across the nation. The logic of responding to a string of failed dams by announcing the construction of another one wasn't lost on protesters. …

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