A significant investment in water infrastructure is needed over the next decade to ensure a safe and reliable water supply for residents and businesses across the Mareeba Shire.
Mayor Toppin said most of the water network infrastructure was put in place over 60 years ago between the 1950s and 1970s and is reaching the end of its useful life.
“While Council has made progress in upgrading and maintaining essential water assets, much of the infrastructure across the Shire is old and needs to be replaced,” Cr Toppin said.
“Council is reaching a critical point where there may be a significant interruption to the water supply due to crumbling water pipes, causing breaks and service failures.
“Council is responding to water main breaks more frequently and this is because of the condition of these ageing underground pipes.
“This problem is not unique to the Mareeba Shire and many Councils face the same difficulties and challenges when dealing with infrastructure that is up to 60 to 70 years old,” Cr Toppin said.
A report tabled at the January Council meeting, highlighted the strategic water priorities for the Shire, including the upgrade of the refurbishment of the Mareeba water treatment plant.
“Approximately 32kms of old AC pipe has been identified for renewal over the next ten years along with booster pump station upgrades by 2025,” Cr Toppin said.
Council will commence initial critical water treatment plant renewals between 2021 and 2025.
Projects have been identified to replace and upgrade essential water reservoirs, hydrants, treatment plant components, generators, telemetry, pumps and smaller water treatment items across the whole Shire.
Mayor Toppin said that ahead of next year’s budget, Council will need to consider an increase of at least $250 in water access charges required to enable Council to commence the critical water infrastructure upgrade to ensure a safe and reliable water supply.
“This increase will allow for projected capital works to be funded for the next 10 years and will ensure Council’s continued financial sustainability,” Cr Toppin said.
“Over $100M investment in water infrastructure is projected over the next 10 to 15 years to ensure a safe and reliable water supply over the long term,” Cr Toppin said.
- Mareeba Shire Council provides drinking water services to 4,746 residential properties and 450 non-residential properties.
- A further 206 properties have access to non-drinking water supplies using Council infrastructure.
- The current replacement cost for the infrastructure that is used to provide water services is worth $84.2M in today’s dollars.
- The reticulation network is 256km in length and represents 65% of the water assets owned; the remainder is water treatment infrastructure.
- If the Shire’s water pipe network was laid out along the highway, it would stretch from Mareeba to the Hinchinbrook Island Lookout south of Cardwell.