In the early 2000s, the Queensland government made a decision to consolidate water and wastewater services, which previously had been the responsibility of local councils within South-East Queensland (SEQ). Australia had just endured the Millennium Drought, Queensland had suffered a full decade of record low rainfall and water security was the driving force behind much of the era’s decision-making. The political intent of Queensland’s water reforms was therefore to effectively drought-proof South-East Queensland.
In July 2010, Unitywater was established as part of this water reform programme, as the entity that provides water supply, sewage and trade waste services to residential and business customers from Noosa in the north to Moreton Bay and the boundaries of Brisbane City in the south.
As it has been set up, Unitywater now has just three shareholders: the Noosa, Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay Councils, themselves reconfigured under a recent amalgamation programme. It purchases bulk water from South-East Queensland Water (Seqwater) and distributes it to some 750,000 residents across the region. Another important part of its work is to collect, treat and dispose of sewage.