Frequently Asked Questions

To help you search through our frequently asked questions, we have grouped them into easy-to-find categories by common topics of interest.

Click on the topic to find answers relating to your questions.

  • About SunWater
    • Who is SunWater
      • SunWater is Queensland’s largest bulk water service provider, owning and managing around $7 billion in water infrastructure assets and supplying approximately 40% of all water used commercially in Queensland.

        Our extensive network of water supply infrastructure supports mining, power generation, industry, urban development and irrigated agriculture throughout Queensland and ensures we take the right steps towards water for the future.

        Operating across regional Queensland, we have a proven 80 year history of growth and leadership in delivering world-class bulk water solutions.

        Would you like to know more ?
    • What does SunWater do?
      • From designing and building dams, managing and operating infrastructure, conducting environmental impact studies to finding new ways to deliver water to remote locations, we are the specialists that industry, mining and government turn to when they need the right solution for their complex water needs.

        Find a specific product or service.

    • How do I contact SunWater?
    • How can I give SunWater feedback about their products, services or this website?
      • Your feedback is important to us and we are constantly looking for ways to improve our business. If you would like to make a complaint about a SunWater service, product or employee you can use the online feedback form, phone 13 15 89 or post a letter to SunWater, PO Box 15536, Qld City East 4002. Anonymous complaints can be made via telephone and mail.
    • How do I make a complaint about SunWater?
      • Your feedback is important to us and we are constantly looking for ways to improve our business. If you would like to make a complaint about a SunWater service, product or employee you can use the online feedback form, phone 13 15 89 or post a letter to SunWater, PO Box 15536, Qld City East 4002. Anonymous complaints can be made via telephone and mail.
    • Where can I find a copy of the SunWater Annual Report?
      • To view the latest SunWater Annual Report online visit the Publications page. Alternatively, you can request a printed copy via the online feedback form or by phoning 13 15 89.
  • Blue-green algae
    • What is blue-green algae?
      • Blue-green algae are simple aquatic bacteria that occur naturally in habitats such as rivers and lakes, favouring still water habitats such as dams that can facilitate their growth. Different species of blue-green algae vary considerably in shape, colour and size.

        Bodies of water containing high numbers of blue-green algae pose a health risk to humans when used as domestic water supplies or for water-based recreation. As blue-green algae numbers increase so does the risk of adverse health impacts, hence it is important to monitor blue-green algae levels.

        Blue-green algae in water storages may affect the health of persons coming into contact with the water. The recreation hazard varies according to the types and respective amounts of algae present within the storage at any time. It is advisable to check the current recreation hazard level before water-based recreational activities are undertaken. As the recreation hazard increases so does the risk of being adversely affected through the following activities:

        • swimming, sailing, water skiing, diving or any other water activity involving body contact with the water may cause skin and eye irritation
        • dangerous algal toxins can accumulate in the internal organs of fish, or
        • drinking or accidentally swallowing water directly from a water storage may result in illness.
    • What do the 'Low', 'Moderate' and 'High' symbols for the blue-green algae mean?
      • The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have established three hazard levels against which storage operators and water users can assess the danger posed by blue-green algae during primary contact water recreation activities (i.e. swimming, canoeing, water skiing etc). The following values are based on the NHMRC guidelines for safe practice in managing bathing waters which may produce or contain cyanobacterial cells and/or toxins (Chorus & Bartram 1999):

        Blue-Green Algae Levels

        Blue-green algae can cause irritation to any part of the body that is directly exposed to it. This irritation is usually in the form of a skin rash, eye irritation, or earache. The more blue-green algae that is present in the water, the greater the chance that some irritation will occur if you swim in the water.

        The levels on the sign are an indication of this risk given the current levels of blue-green algae. If the blue-green algae indicator indicates a HIGH level, there is a high chance that the average person will suffer some form of irritation. Moderate levels are less likely to cause a problem than high levels, however a risk is still present. Low levels are unlikely to cause any health problems, however some people are more sensitive than others.

        The levels do NOT reflect the suitability of the water for drinking.

        If you would like to research blue-green algae further, you can visit the Australian Water Quality Centre or National Health and Medical Research Council websites.

    • How often do the blue-green algae levels change?
      • The SunWater website is updated regularly and should be checked for changes in the levels of blue-green algae. Insufficient data exists to predict when levels will change, however it can generally be assumed that blue-green algae levels will increase during the warmer months of the year.
    • Should I go swimming if blue-green algae is present?
      • The choice of whether or not you swim in the storage is something only you can decide. Some people are more susceptible to irritation than others just as some people are more prone to allergies than others. Some people are more willing to accept the risk than others. SunWater provides the recreation hazard levels to help you assess the risk, however only you can make the decision. Noticeable surface scums are also an indication of an increased risk of irritation and should be avoided.
    • How long will the blue-green algae be here for?
      • Blue-green algae are a natural part of the environment. A very small quantity of blue-green algae is present all the time, but when the weather patterns are right for them to grow they can multiply into potentially harmful numbers (commonly known as a ‘bloom’), and there is very little that can be done to stop them. It is difficult to estimate when blooms will occur and when they will die off, although numbers tend to increase during summer and high temperatures, and decrease during the winter.
    • Can I eat the fish/shellfish that I catch from the storage?
      • Fish and shellfish caught in storages with insignificant numbers of the four (4) potentially toxic species should be edible.

        Fish and crayfish should not be eaten from storages containing high levels of Anabaena circinalis, Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, Microcystis aeruginosa, and Aphanizomenon ovalisporum, which can produce toxins (a kind of poison) that are harmful to people if consumed. Fish/shellfish that are living in water containing these toxins can absorb the toxins into their internal organs such as the liver.

        Previously it was thought that removing fish innards would render them safe to eat. However, recent research indicates the possibility of toxin accumulation in fish flesh. Children and the elderly should be considered more susceptible to toxin effects when assessing the risks.

        Note that you may require a permit to fish under the Stocked Impoundment Permit (SIP) Scheme, available from small businesses in the vicinity of stocked dams. Please visit the Department of Primary Industries website for further information.

    • Is it OK to drink water from the dam?
      • No. The only water you should consume is either water that has been treated for drinking by a council such as the supply to a house in a town, or rainwater. Untreated water from the dam is not suitable for drinking regardless of blue-green algae numbers. Boiling the water will not make it safe to drink.
    • How can I treat the water so that I can drink it?
      • Water treatment is a complex process requiring the application of chemicals, filtration, and other processes that cannot be completed without sufficient resources and training. SunWater recommends that you only drink water that has been supplied for drinking by a council, or rainwater. Boiling the water will not make it safe to drink.
    • Will blue-green algae in the water affect my crops?
      • There is no evidence to suggest that blue-green algae is absorbed by plants or whether it will affect the growth of plants. Some research has been performed that suggests a small amount of toxin (a type of poison produced by some types of blue-green algae) may dry on the plant surface if water containing toxic blue-green algae is sprayed on the plant.
    • Will blue-green algae in the water affect my stock?
      • Stock (e.g. cows and horses) have a higher tolerance than humans, however toxins produced by some blue-green algae can cause harm to stock. Stock should be prevented from watering where algal scums are present. Blue-green algae levels in on-farm storages are likely to differ from those recorded in the SunWater storage.
    • I have algae in my farm dam, will it affect my stock?
      • The scum may not be algae, and if it is, it may not be producing toxins. Refer to the Yellow Pages directory for Analysts or Laboratories who can conduct ‘blue-green algae analyses’ and advise you if ‘toxin testing’ will be necessary (e.g. Queensland Health Scientific Services).
    • What are the environmental implications of blue-green algae outbreaks?
      • Blue-green algae occurs naturally in the environment. There has been little research conducted on the effects of blue-green algae on aquatic fauna, and where fish deaths have occurred during an algal bloom, it has been difficult to separate the effects of blue-green algal toxins and other potentially contributing factors such as low oxygen levels.
  • Environment
    • How do I report a fish death?
      • Fish deaths occur for a variety of reasons. Under SunWater's Environmental Management System any fish deaths that occur within SunWater's area of operations are immediately reported by SunWater to the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM). DERM advises SunWater of actions that need to be undertaken to ensure the incident is recorded accurately and that fish are collected or disposed of as per the DERM guidelines. Information on what to do if you believe you have identified a fish death can be found on the DERM website or you can call the DERM Hotline on 1300 130 372.
    • Does SunWater proactively manage weeds?
      • SunWater has scheme weed management plans that outline how we contain, reduce and prevent weed infestations from occurring within our Water Supply Schemes. Where appropriate SunWater participates in collaborative, catchment-wide weed control initiatives in those regions where SunWater operates.
    • What is blue-green algae?
      • See the blue-green algae category within the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of this website for more information.
  • Recreational Information
    • How do I find recreational information for SunWater dams?
    • Can I book a campsite at a SunWater dam through the SunWater website?
      • No. For accommodation or campsite bookings at selected SunWater dams visit the Queensland Holidays website.
    • Does blue-green algae affect the recreational activities I can participate in at SunWater dams?
      • Yes. For full details about what blue-green algae is and how it affects recreational activities, visit the blue-green algae section of these FAQs or check the blue-green algae levels on the water storage map.
  • Recruitment
    • Where do SunWater advertise their job opportunities?
      • SunWater employment vacancies are listed in the Careers section of this website.
    • Do SunWater offer graduate programs?
      • Yes. SunWater has a graduate program that employs Civil, Electrical, Environmental and Mechanical Engineers. The program is designed to develop skills and knowledge, and give first hand experience of procedures and operations. Graduates are able to build peer and management networks as well as the opportunity to work alongside leaders in the water industry. For information about rotations and what our program can offer you, visit Current Vacancies under the Careers section of this website.
    • Do SunWater offer opportunities for trainees, apprentices or cadets?
      • Yes. Opportunities are open for trainees, apprentices and cadets across the business and details about each program can be found in the Careers section of this website.
    • Do you have work experience opportunities for university and high school students?
      • At times SunWater allows students to participate in work experience and vacation work. There is currently no formal program in place for work experience or vacation students, however you can contact the People and Capability team at any time to enquire about available opportunities.
  • Right to Information
    • What is Right to Information
      • The Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (the RTI Act) gives the public a right of access to documents held by Government owned corporations such as SunWater. It replaces the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (Qld) which will continue to apply for applications lodged before 1 July 2009. All applications received after this date will be dealt with under the RTI Act. For more information about the Act, you can visit www.rti.qld.gov.au or you can contact SunWater’s RTI Coordinator on +61 7 3120 0111 or email RTIRequest@sunwater.com.au
    • What do I do if I want to access public information from SunWater?
      • Check if the information that you are looking for is already available from:
        • Our Publication Scheme - information about the department, our services, finances, priorities, decisions, policies, lists and registers
        • Our Disclosure Log (Released Information) – non-personal information released through the RTI legal process
        • Our website - If the information is not already available, or you can’t find it through the above sources, you can make a request by submitting a RTI Application form by fax or in person.
    • How can I see what information has previously been requested?
      • SunWater provides a disclosure log of all information requested under the Right to Information Act 2009. This log can be found within the Right to Information section of this website.
  • Scheme Information
    • What is the current storage level of each of SunWater’s dam?
      • Storage levels and historical data of each dam and weir can be viewed on the Water Storage map
    • How can I find out about the current announced allocations for my scheme?
      • All information relating to schemes can be found under the individual scheme within the storage schemes section of this website. Under the relevant scheme page you will find information about announced allocations, rules and targets, irrigator advisory committees, pricing policies and scheme history
    • What products are available in my scheme?
      • Each scheme has different products available. To find the products available within your scheme login to SunWaterOnline and click the Scheme tab. Click the Product and Prices hyperlink in the Scheme Link box. If you are not a current customer of SunWater or do not have access to SunWaterOnline, you can login as a guest or phone 13 15 89 for more information.
    • Where can I find prices for products within my scheme?
      • To find the product prices in your scheme login to SunWaterOnline and click the Scheme tab. Click the Product and Prices hyperlink in the Scheme Link box. If you are not a current customer of SunWater or do not have access to SunWaterOnline, you can login as a guest or phone 13 15 89 for more information.
    • How do I find Irrigator Advisory Committee information for my scheme?
      • If you would like to view Irrigator Advisory Committee details including members, meeting dates and minutes, select your scheme from the storage schemes section of this website. This scheme page contains the current Irrigator Advisory Committee details and all of the information you need to know about your scheme.
  • Sponsorships
    • Do SunWater sponsor community events and activities?
      • Yes. SunWater has a sponsorship program that supports community events and activities. The sponsorship program aims to make a positive contribution to the lives of our customers and their respective communities. For more information, visit the sponsorship page.
    • How do I apply for a sponsorship grant?
    • How will I know if my sponsorship application has been successful?
      • All sponsorship applications will be evaluated based on SunWater criteria and once completed a letter will be sent notifying you of the outcome.
    • Can Blue come to my event?
      • Contact SunWater Corporate Relations team to make a request for Blue to visit your community event or activity. Phone +61 7 3120 0258 or email PP&S - Corporate Relations.
  • SunWaterOnline
    • What is SunWaterOnline?
      • SunWaterOnline is an online water management tool designed to give SunWater customers greater access to their water management and financial information any day at any time. SunWaterOnline can be used to:
        • View remaining water allocation balances daily
        • Enter meter readings to effectively track water usage
        • Check the financial position of a customer account
        • Perform a Temporary Transfer, or
        • Access water storage, streamflow and scheme information.
    • Where do I find information about SunWaterOnline?
      • To find out more about SunWaterOnline you can phone our SunWaterOnline Support Team on 13 15 89.
    • How do I access SunWaterOnline?
      • Access to SunWaterOnline is through the SunWater home page or you can login from here.
    • How do I register for SunWaterOnline?
      • Click here to access the SunWaterOnline registration. Before you begin, ensure you have all of the required documentation for registration. Items that you will require include an active email account and your customer or water account information. Remember, you must be a SunWater customer or an authorised representative to successfully apply for registration.
    • I've forgotten my SunWaterOnline password, what do I do?
      • If you have forgotten your SunWaterOnline password, you can have it resent to you. Simply click on the SunWaterOnline icon on the home page and then select the Forgotten Password link to be directed to your secret questions. Once you have answered these correctly, you will automatically be sent an email with your password for future use. Alternatively, you can phone our SunWaterOnline Support Team on 13 15 89 to have your password reset.
    • How do I change my SunWaterOnline password
      • If you are registered for SunWaterOnline and would like to change your password, simply:
        • Login to SunWaterOnline
        • Click the My Access Tab
        • Click the Change Password menu item
        • Complete the Old Password field
        • Complete the New Password field
        • Complete the Confirm New Password field
        • Click Submit
        • Click Continue
  • Tenders
    • How do I find out if SunWater has any open tender opportunities?
    • What items do SunWater open for tender?
      • SunWater regularly sends out requests for major tenders across a range of products and services including:
        • Pipes and culverts
        • Water meters
        • High voltage pumps and motors
        • Civil, mechanical and electrical maintenance services
        • Construction services associated with water infrastructure industry
        • Fencing materials and services
        • Materials such as sand, gravel, rock, concrete
        • Labour services
        • Plant hire
        • Agricultural chemicals
        • Protective and safety equipment
        • Channel control hardware and software
        • Telephone and communications equipment
        • Computer equipment and accessories
    • Who can I contact if I want more information about a current tender opportunity that I have seen open?
      • The contact details for the tender opportunity will be outlined in the tender document issued by SunWater. All major tenders are listed on the Queensland Government eTendering website and will include a detailed tender document with the listing.
  • Water for Sale
    • Can I purchase water from SunWater?
      • Yes. While many parts of Australia are still suffering from drought and reduced water resources, many of Queensland's regions now have an abundant supply and water can be purchased for commercial or agricultural use. To find out more, visit the Water for Sale  section of this website.
    • What regions is water available for purchase in?
      • For information about which regions have water available for purchase, visit the Water for Sale  page of the website. Alternatively, you can contact SunWater’s Business Development on 0407 150 669 or business@sunwater.com.au
    • Is it possible to buy temporary transfer water?
      • Yes. SunWater sells its temporary transfer water throughout Queensland via Waterfind

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