DESERTED ISLAND: Heron Island is closed until Friday while water desalination plant staff monitor supply levels following a shortage which forced the island’s evacuation last weekend.
DESERTED ISLAND: Heron Island is closed until Friday while water desalination plant staff monitor supply levels following a shortage which forced the island’s evacuation last weekend.

Heron Island evacuated over water supply concerns

A CENTRAL Queensland island paradise remains closed this week after evacuating holiday-makers for the first time in its history, last weekend.

Heron Island Resort management was left no choice but to evacuate guests last Saturday due what a spokeswoman called "operational issues" with the island's water desalination plant.

In a statement released exclusively to The Observer, Heron Island sales executive Lisa Janson said it had been eight years since the last desalination plant issues.

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"Located in such a pristine, remote environment, our water is supplied by our onsite desalination plant," Ms Janson said.

"Unfortunately, we experienced an unforeseen problem on Saturday, December 5, which meant we were unable to produce water.

"For the comfort and safety of our guests we asked those who were onsite at Heron Island to depart and have temporarily suspended operations until this Friday, 11 December."

Ms Janson said although the desalination plant returned to full operation the next day, Aldesta Hotels made the difficult decision to extend the closure until Friday.

"This was to allow our maintenance team, along with experienced contractors, to conduct further tests and upgrades to ensure the infrastructure can handle the pressure of expected guest numbers," Ms Janson said.

"While we are apologetic for the inconvenience and disappointment this has caused guests, the health and safety of guests and employees remains our top priority.

"Guests who were asked to depart Heron Island early or have had bookings postponed or cancelled are of course disappointed, but most have been understanding of the situation."

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Ms Janson said the malfunction occurred on Saturday morning and did not allow for Aldesta to give prior notice to those guests who were due to arrive that day.

"Our team assisted guests with finding alternative accommodation at the local Gladstone Hotels and provided a shuttle bus for airport and hotel drop offs," she said.

"Many guests chose to stay locally and explore the region including Gladstone, Agnes Water and the town of Seventeen Seventy.

"The Gladstone Visitor Information Centre team were also a fantastic support for guests, opening their office on Saturday afternoon help ensure guests were aware of all of their accommodation options in the Gladstone Region."

Ms Janson said they had not previously evacuated any guests from Heron Island due to a problem with our water supply.

"On Monday, November 30 we did have guests on water restrictions due to a separate problem that caused a water shortage," she said.

"This was quickly fixed and our water supply was back too normal prior to Saturday's malfunction.

"Some guests chose not to stay at Heron Island while on water restrictions and were offered a refund."



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