Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

PLANS TO TAP IN TO CONNOLLY DAM $$ FLOW Money to Flow from Ventures; SDRC Thirsts to Pay Debt

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

PLANS TO TAP IN TO CONNOLLY DAM $$ FLOW Money to Flow from Ventures; SDRC Thirsts to Pay Debt

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Lester

AS SOUTHERN Downs Regional Council looks to pay down debt, attention has turned to creating a revenue stream from one of its largest assets.

Connolly Dam is poised to host a new campground and the council is also exploring options for selling water from the dam.

At its latest meeting, SDRC approved an expressions of interest process on the sale of raw water from the council- owned dam, which has a total capacity of 2592ML.

Council CEO David Keenan said most of the drinking water in Warwick was supplied from Leslie Dam, owned by Sunwater.

"The water (in Connolly Dam) does get used sometimes but for the most part it is just sitting there," Mr Keenan said.

"There is the potential to do more work to support agribusiness in the area and create an income stream."

Individuals and businesses now have until September 7 to lodge EOIs.

Mayor Tracy Dobie said the process would help identify consumers to connect to Connolly Dam.

"This is about maximising the returns from one of (the) council's largest assets and finding what is an accept- able charge," Cr Dobie said.

The sale of water follows the approval of a 20-site eco-friendly campground earlier this year.

A $150,000 amenities block -- including a male shower, toilet and urinal, two female showers and a toilet and a unisex toilet for disabled access -- is expected to be installed by the end of next month.

SDRC community services and major projects manager Michael Bell said the council was having the building made and lifted into the site.

"Grant funding has covered $120,000 of the cost of the building," Mr Bell said.

"The campground won't be powered but the toilet block will be solar-powered.

"The council will also need to make some modifications to the entry roads and improve the signage, which is likely to cost a further $50,000 to $100,000. …

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