A DROUGHT-affected Queensland regional council has pleaded for a significant increase in water security funding to prevent a possible nationwide impact on food prices.
The inland Southern Downs Regional Council has this week implemented strict water use conditions on its 35,000 residents after its main reservoir, Leslie Dam, fell to 7.2 per cent capacity.
Residents have been told to reduce their daily water usage to just 120 litres per person, less than half the national average.
The region has experienced its driest summer on record, sparking fears for major local industries - agriculture, horticulture and livestock.
"If we don't have continued water, that's going to impact on price of produce," said mayor Tracy Dobie.
There's an enormous amount of water in southeast Queensland that's recycled and goes out to Moreton Bay.
But Cr Dobie said solutions were available if state and federal governments wanted to fund them, including a pipeline from southeast Queensland reservoirs.
"The state and federal governments have to start making some big decisions soon about water," she said.
"They collect 97 per cent of tax so if a government can build an Inland Rail or put money towards building submarines, they can lay a pipe."
Alternative sources to dam water were hard to come by, Cr Dobie said.
Bore water needs to be trucked to consumers at a significant cost due to a lack of infrastructure and the council had run out of recycled water.
"There's an enormous amount of water in southeast Queensland that's recycled and goes out to Moreton Bay," she said.
"So maybe it's time to start thinking seriously about how that water is used."
Maranoa Regional Council, which is also lobbying for more water infrastructure, has accused the Commonwealth of buck-passing to the state government.
Water spokesman David Schefe said the council was in no position to tax its residents further to pay for water solutions.
"The pressure that our communities are under just from the current drought is huge. As a local government, you're reluctant to burden them even further," he said.
"I think it would beneficial for the federal government to step up here."
Australian Associated Press