Drinking water risk as rain soaks region

DOUGLAS SHIRE

Mark Murray

Journalist

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The Rex Creek intake can be seen overflowing today. IMAGE: Supplied.

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THE region’s water treatment plants are struggling to keep up with the heavy rain hammering the Douglas Shire.

Mossman has recorded 487mm in just over two days with sand and debris blocking intakes and slowing down the filtering process required for safe and clean water.

It has prompted a plea from Mayor Julia Leu for residents to limit their water usage as the Bureau of Meteorology warns of more rain.

The Mossman plant is currently off due to the ‘high turbidity’ at the Rex Creek intake, which supplies the Mossman, North Mossman, Port Douglas, Newell Beach, Cooya Beach, Cassowary and Mowbray communities with water.

Heavy rain has also closed the Whyanbeel and Daintree treatment facilities servicing the Miallo, Rocky Point, Port Douglas Views, Wonga and Daintree areas.

Cr Leu said to ensure drinking water supplies are available residents needed to restrict consumption ‘for critical purposes only’.

“Council officers have reported seeing auto sprinklers on at a holiday rental overnight, which is astounding given the huge falls across our shire this week,” Cr Leu said.

“This could impact residents for the next two days so it is vital businesses and residents conserve their water usage."

Levels in drinking water reservoirs have slowly increased ‘to around 50 per cent' with further gains expected this afternoon, according to Council.

BOM duty forecaster Jim Richardson said falls between 50mm-100mm could drop across the region today and overnight with isolated falls ‘above 200mm’ also possible.

“We’ve had some decent falls just south of where you are, getting around widespread 100mm, 200mm plus along the ranges there,” he said.

“Port Douglas itself got 62mm (9am today) so it’s just on the top end of that heavier rainfall, it’s mostly further south.

“But we are expecting the focus to shift further north today, it is becoming a bit more mobile so it’s maybe not so strong as it has been (down south), but the heavier rain is shifting north today.”

Mossman’s Junction Road and Finlayvale Road remain closed this morning along with Shannonvale Road, although flooding on the Mossman River is easing.  

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