South East Queensland water security

The Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water provides a framework to provide long-term water security for South East Queensland (SEQ), as prescribed in the Water Act 2000. The aim is to ensure the delivery of a sustainable and secure water supply.

The framework:

  • provides for the desired level of service (LOS) objectives for water security in the SEQ region
  • requires the bulk water supply authority to have a water security program to facilitate the achievement of the desired LOS objectives.

Desired level of service objectives for SEQ

The desired LOS objectives are set in the Water Regulation 2016 (sections 79-81) .

These objectives for SEQ require that the bulk water supply network be able to supply enough water:

  • to meet the projected regional average urban demand estimated by Seqwater, so that medium-level water restrictions on residential water use will (on average) not occur more than once every 10 years or be more severe than 140 litres per person per day
  • to ensure that the total duration of water restrictions that are medium level or of greater severity last no longer than 5% of the modelled time
  • to provide an essential minimum supply volume of 100 litres per person per day in an extreme drought event (i.e. a one in a 10,000 year event), so that key storages (i.e. Baroon Pocket, Wivenhoe and Hinze dams) will not reach their minimum operating level more than once in every 10,000 years on average.

Review of LOS objectives

The LOS objectives are regularly reviewed. The 2019 review found that the current objectives are satisfactory in helping to ensure water security for SEQ. The review recommended:

A consultation report (PDF, 410KB) is available which provides details of the public submission process and more general consultation that was undertaken to support the change to the desired level of service objectives that occurred in February 2022.

Water security program and guidelines

The Water security program guidelines for South East Queensland (PDF, 805KB) provide Seqwater with information and guidance for program preparation. It clarifies various aspects of the interpretation of the desired LOS objectives in the Water Regulation 2016.

The South East Queensland water security program 2023 was published by Seqwater in October 2023.

This program outlines how the desired LOS objectives for South East Queensland are proposed to be achieved over the next 30 years. It includes information about the operation of the bulk water supply system, future bulk water infrastructure, and drought response.