Mid Brisbane River gets $1m boost to improve water quality

Almost one million dollars will be spent over the next three years on projects to improve water quality in the Mid Brisbane River catchment.

On Tuesday, Healthy Land and Water, Seqwater and the Queensland Government unveiled a new partnership which will focus on improving water quality in one of South East Queensland’s most vital waterways.

Through funding provided by Seqwater, Healthy Land and Water will work directly with landholders along the Mid Brisbane River on projects including revegetating riverbanks, installing fencing, weed removal and gully stabilisation.

The works will ensure gullies and riverbanks are more resilient to floodwaters and will reduce erosion and the flow of soil and mud into Mid Brisbane waterways.

Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said improving and protecting the Mid Brisbane River catchment was vital in safeguarding the future of Brisbane’s water supply.

“The Mid Brisbane River is the direct source of raw water supply for our largest and most important water treatment plants at Mt Crosby,’’ Dr Lynham said.

“Combined the Mt Crosby Westbank and East Bank provide up to 50% of South East Queensland’s drinking water supply every day.

“Within the next 10-15 years with population growth both plants will be supplying up to 60% of SEQ’s drinking water.”

As part of Tuesday’s announcement, Dr Lynham and Ipswich West MP Jim Madden met with stakeholders at a privately-owned property in Pine Mountain where work was already underway to stabilise an eroding gully site by installing a rock chute and revegetating the area.

Dr Lynham said building strong working relationships with landholders was vital as much of the land between Wivenhoe and the Mt Crosby plants was privately-owned.

“This project is about actively engaging with these landholders and investing in projects that help make their properties more resilient to floods while improving the water quality in the Mid Brisbane River.

At this stage at least nine properties along the Mid Brisbane River have been earmarked to have work carried out to improve land condition and in turn protect water quality with others to be identified as we engage with other interested landholders over the next few months.

“The benefits of improving catchment health reduces water quality risks and increases the resilience of our region’s drinking water supply.

Seqwater Chief Executive Officer Neil Brennan said improving the catchment health was a critical part in delivering a high-quality water supply.

Mr Brennan said the latest partnership was part of Seqwater’s planned $20 million investment over the next 20 years in the Mid Brisbane River area to improve water quality outcomes.

“This is a dedicated fund to work directly with private landholders to invest in projects which improve the condition of their land and deliver a direct water quality benefit.

“It’s part of the overall partnership approach we are taking across South East Queensland working with local catchments groups and councils to target on-ground works. Over the next year about 40 per cent of our investment in catchments will be delivered by our partners’’

Healthy Land and Water CEO Julie McLellan said the projects would involve working closely with landholders and local community groups to achieve successful outcomes.

“Many of these projects are quite small but combined with other projects being undertaken by Seqwater we are confident that it will make a significant difference to improving the water catchment health of Mid Brisbane River,’’ Ms McLellan said.

“The region’s waterways are highly-susceptible to erosion caused by storms and flooding, but solutions do exist and these kinds of restoration ensure we can protect agricultural land and ultimately secure Brisbane’s drinking water supply.”

The partnership also is being supported by the Council of Mayors and its Resilient Rivers Initiative with $85,000 provided over the next year.

On-farm works being undertaken as part of the Mid Brisbane River Partnership include:

  •          The repair of active gully erosion sites by undertaking earthworks, installing rock chutes and baffles, establishing native vegetation and installing fencing to manage livestock access.
  •          Undertaking revegetation along riverbanks using native species to improve water quality through reduced channel erosion.
  •          Addressing other farm-related issues that can affect water quality and undertaking remediation works.

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