Importance of catchment management highlighted in research findings

27 June 2023
Kelly’s Off Stream Storage in Byfield, Central Queensland
Byfield’s Kelly’s Off Stream Storage

The importance of catchment management and activities occurring in Kelly’s Off Stream Storage in Byfield, has been highlighted in a recently-published paper.

Livingstone Shire Council in conjunction with CQUniversity collected two years’ worth of data in Byfield’s Kelly’s Off Stream Storage and Water Park Creek, with the findings released in the Australian Water Association (AWA) Water e-journal.

Led by CQUniversity Associate Professor in Environmental Science, Dr Larelle Fabbro the paper was co-authored by Livingstone Shire Council’s Water and Waste Operations Technical Specialist Michael Dalton, along with contributions from Alison Craig, Geeta Gautam Kafle, Lorna Wells, Tania Collins and Glenn McIntyre. 

At Kelly’s Off Stream Storage, water is pumped from Water Park Creek into the Off Stream Storage and from there to the Livingstone Shire Council’s Woodbury Water Treatment Plant. 

At the plant, water is conventionally treated with coagulation, flocculation, clarification, filtration, and disinfection by chlorination. The treatment plant also supplies drinking water to parts of the Capricorn Coast. 

Dr Fabbro said the study had provided a deeper understanding of the physical and chemical processes in the raw water source which would assist in evaluating and managing water quality risks.

“It illustrates the link between a protected and well-vegetated catchment and a high-quality and good tasting water supply,” Dr Fabbro said. 

“Key to the quality of the water is the sand filtration in the dunes upstream from Water Park Creek, pristine catchment, riparian vegetation in the source stream, the pattern of stratification and mixing, low conductivity and low concentrations of nutrients,” she said.

“This analysis of conditions in Kelly’s Off Stream Storage reiterates the importance of the management of both the catchment and the activities within the Off Stream Storage itself as part of the proactive management of a high-quality water supply.”

Dr Fabbro said Livingstone Shire Council were aware of pertinent issues in the upper catchment and monitored to ensure the safety and quality of the water supply. 

“It is hoped that the quality water from this relatively undeveloped and well-vegetated catchment, together with the protected Off Stream Storage can contribute to safe and secure drinking water supply in the future.”

The paper can be viewed via the Livingstone Shire Council website

CQUniversity Associate Professor in Environmental Science Dr Larelle Fabbro taking a water sample
CQUniversity Associate Professor in Environmental Science, Dr Larelle Fabbro