The water industry has a long history of adapting to meet the changing needs of our communities. In Queensland, we have successfully adapted for over 100 years to improve public health, reduce environmental impacts and secure our water supply in the face of severe climate impacts.

What we anticipate, however, is a perfect storm of challenges that will test our urban water supplies like never before. Our growing population, increasingly fragile environments and the diminishing reliability of our rainfall-dependent water supplies all point
to a critical shift we must make over the next 10 to 15 years to secure these essential services for our communities into the future.

Recent water reliability modelling prepared for the new South East Queensland Water Security Plan has indicated that investment in the next water source will need to be brought forward from post 2040 to early 2030. This is due to the impacts on water grid reliability resulting from climate change and increasing population growth in the region. To safeguard water security into the future, Urban Utilities is advocating for all water security options to be on the table to ensure climate-independent water sources, such as purified recycled water for drinking, are progressed.

While addressing these water supply challenges, it is also vital that the water sector continues to deliver affordable services to our customers and communities. As such, Urban Utilities will continue to work with our partners to take a comprehensive and integrated approach to assessing investment decisions.

While water security is our primary focus, we are also embracing opportunities that will transition Urban Utilities towards a circular economy model. These opportunities include using our existing waste treatment platforms to receive and convert food organics and garden organics into higher-value products, whilst minimising the risk of emerging containments entering the environment and reducing impacts from odour and microplastics.

Our State is preparing to welcome the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the success of which relies heavily on accelerating the infrastructure required to ensure our region can sustain the lifestyle we enjoy in spite of the challenges that lie ahead.

For South East Queensland, the 2032 Games is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fast-track the reshaping of our water cycle into one that is more resilient, sustainable, climate-independent and cost-effective. Through integrated planning, we will achieve long-term water security, enhance the quality of our local waterways and ecosystems, and put downward pressure on our cost to serve – an Olympic legacy that will serve us well for decades to come.