South East Queensland’s water supply
Seqwater is continuing to operate our water treatment plants as required and provide bulk drinking water to our five retailer customers (Urban Utilities, Unitywater and the councils of Logan, Gold Coast and Redland).
There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted by drinking water.
Existing water treatment and disinfection processes, including the use of chlorine, are effective in protecting water supplies.
How Seqwater is maintaining operations through COVID-19
We have business continuity plans and are confident we will maintain water supply, flood operations and the safety of our dams through this pandemic.
Seqwater is working closely with our five retailer customers on a coordinated response and taking advantage of opportunities to share resources. We have taken steps to protect our staff, particularly those who are critical to our day-to-day operations and will continue to focus on continuity of supply.
We have cancelled or postponed Seqwater public events, including our community education program, to protect our staff and the communities we serve.
We have re-opened Seqwater-managed lakes and parks to all permitted activities, in line with the Queensland Government's Roadmap to Easing Restrictions.
Seqwater is proactively managing this situation, taking an approach that is aligned with our values – integrity, respect, care and courage.
The following guidelines have been adopted:
- The health and wellbeing of our workforce during the coming weeks and months is our priority. As such, with the exception of critical operational staff, all employees are to work from home.
- Any staff member who is unwell is not to attend an Seqwater workplace under any circumstance.
- Virtual meetings are to be held instead of face-to-face meetings.
- To support our suppliers, we are prioritising payment as soon as possible.
What we expect from suppliers and contractors
In order to protect our employees and maintain our services, Seqwater has limited access to operational sites.
From time to time access is required for the delivery of important goods (e.g. chemicals), maintenance or construction crews undertaking work on site. We also have some people working in non-operational areas as contractors, consultants or as temporary staff.
We expect these firms to take similar measures to protect their own workers and ensure none of their workers attend a Seqwater site (operational or otherwise) if they are unwell, have recently been overseas or believe they have come into contact with a person who may be exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Please note, we may seek separate assurance that you have the appropriate measures in place.
We also expect suppliers and contractors to ensure their workers comply with all current Chief Health Officer public health directions (CHO Directions) when providing goods or services to Seqwater. The CHO Directions are available on the Queensland Department of Health website (see here: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers). Suppliers and contractors should also be aware that CHO Directions may change from time to time.
Queensland border controls
Entry into the state of Queensland has now been restricted to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by way of a CHO Direction.
Security of water supply is critical in sustaining the health and safety of Queenslanders in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In recognition of this critical role, certain exemptions apply to persons, goods and services that support the supply chain that provides safe drinking water (this will include inputs essential to allow Seqwater to maintain its services and infrastructure).
Government has put in place arrangements that enable entry into Queensland by our contractors and suppliers to support our critical water supply service. Suppliers and contractors should be familiar with the entry requirements and exemptions, and only travel from another State or Territory to Queensland and obtained the relevant documentation (for example, refer to https://www.qld.gov.au/border-pass) and fall within a relevant exemption.
Important note: It is expected that all visiting suppliers, who are exempt from border restrictions and travelling into Queensland, will remain in their vehicle and practice social distancing wherever possible. This includes maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres from other persons where reasonably practicable.
If you have a question in relation to supplier/contractor movements across the border into Queensland (which is not already covered above), please contact our Commercial Services Team at [email protected].
Other visitors to our sites
In order to protect the employees who are critical to our service delivery, we will not be permitting any visitors to our operational sites by anyone other than suppliers or contractors mentioned above.
The above measures are an important part of our overall plan for the safety and wellbeing of our staff members, and the continuation of essential services for the people of South East Queensland through this pandemic.
Information for residents and business regarding bulk water charges
Households and industry in SEQ are customers of water service providers, who pass on Seqwater's bulk water charge through their invoices to consumers. These service providers are:
The State bulk water charge from Seqwater which is included on residential and business water bills is 100% volumetric. This means that the charge is calculated on the amount of water used and does not include a fixed cost.
Businesses who do not use any water during the pandemic response will therefore not pay anything for bulk water supplied by Seqwater. Businesses and households will only pay Seqwater’s bulk water charge for water used.
Queensland Government rebate
The Queensland Government has announced a $200 utility payment for households, which equates to $100 off water bills for SEQ residents. This rebate will be applied through electricity bills. More information can be found at: https://www.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0023/122099/electricity-relief-qanda.pdf
A $100 rebate on water equates to a saving of approximately 20% of the bulk water component for a household using 160kL per annum in South East Queensland.
Information for our irrigation customers
Due to the restrictions of public gatherings and limitations around face-to-face meetings Seqwater has postponed the annual customer forums, generally held in May.
Despite this, Seqwater remains committed to keeping customers informed during this period and will replace the forums with an information bulletin applicable to your scheme.
Irrigation customers can continue to contact their local Operator by telephone or our Irrigation Team with any queries. Our team remains available during business hours to answer any questions or action any requests. If your call does go through to the answering machine, please leave a message and our team will return your call that same day.
Seqwater supplies water to over 1,000 irrigators in South East Queensland. As is our usual practice, if any of our irrigation customers are having difficulty paying invoices, they should contact Seqwater at 1800 077 005 or email [email protected].
We appreciate the COVID-19 situation changes regularly and as time progresses you may have questions and/or concerns in regards to your supply of goods or services to Seqwater.
We ask that you submit your questions and/or concerns to [email protected] including all information that you believe is relevant for us to assist you further (e.g. Order number or contract number, type of goods/services being supplied, the concern that has led to this enquiry).
The Seqwater Commercial Services Team will respond in a timely manner to all enquiries and appreciate your patience.
Right to information, information privacy
Seqwater may have reduced or no access to receive physical correspondence and cheques sent via postal services. In addition, Seqwater may experience restricted access to records and documents (particularly physical records and documents), reduced availability of delegated decision makers, experience restrictions in conducting third party and stakeholder consultations, or may have staff on leave.
Given the likelihood of delays and uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consider delaying the lodgement an any application or privacy related matter if it is not urgent.
Please contact the RTI Advisor by email [email protected] for further information.