Ensuring a high quality water supply begins at the source - South East Queensland catchments.
There are a number of pressures placed on South East Queensland catchments. Unlike many other water utilities in the country where drinking water catchments are closed to communities, industries and services, Seqwater relies on large open catchments which we do not own or manage.
South East Queensland’s catchments cover more than 1.2 million hectares of land. Seqwater only owns around 65,000 hectares of this land, so it is vital we work in partnership with our neighbours, catchment land owners and the broader community to achieve better land management and water quality outcomes.
Caring for our catchments
We undertake strategic catchment planning to minimise and manage risk to water quality. We develop long-term management plans in partnership with our catchment communities and regional stakeholders to ensure a consistent approach to managing the land around our drinking water and irrigation storages. The plans identify and prioritise management actions and strategies to maintain or enhance the source water quality.
As well as strategic management, we have a team of 40 rangers and catchment officers, who manage and maintain our catchment land and the recreational use of our sites.
They undertake duties including fire management, illegal access monitoring and management, pest and weed control, as well as managing public access to our very popular lakes and picnic areas. This work significantly improves the habitat of endangered species of flora and fauna.
Fire management - protecting our assets
As a landholder and statutory authority, we have a responsibility to address fire management in our catchments. We are working to a 10-year planned burns program to reduce fuel hazard levels, address the risk of bushfires and manage biodiversity.
Planned burns help reduce fuel loads, such as grasses and dense undergrowth, and the risks of bushfires in our catchments. We generally conduct planned burns during the cooler months, outside of the bushfire season.
Our aim is to do planned burns when conditions suit. The timing and intensity of burns is highly dependent on weather conditions (i.e.wind direction) and conditions that are suitable for native plants and animals.
Catchments are prioritised each year to ensure those areas with the highest bushfire risk are completed first. In delivering our burn program, we work closely with a range of key agencies such as the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES), local rural fire brigades and local councils.
Water quality and recreation
Recreation at our lakes and parks must be managed in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner to ensure there are no adverse impacts on the core role of these assets – providing a safe, secure and reliable water supply.
We are one of the few bulk water suppliers in Australia that manages open catchments, allowing the community to enjoy our water supply lakes and catchment land for recreation activities. Our challenge is to balance community access with our essential role of ensuring a high quality water supply for the region.
Urban and rural land use planning
We strive to embed responsible water management in urban and rural land use planning. Through collaboration and continuous improvement in land use planning, development controls and land management processes, our infrastructure and associated catchments are protected.
Protecting drinking water catchments from adverse impacts of development is essential for the delivery of a high quality and affordable water supply. Unlike many other water authorities in Australia, much of South East Queensland’s (SEQ) catchments are open catchments, which contain a variety of land uses including rural and urban development.