Aug 01, 2020

Special project status for Burdekin Falls Dam upgrade

Special project status for Burdekin Falls Dam upgrade

The proposed raising of the Burdekin Falls Dam wall in North Queensland has been declared a coordinated project.

Upgrading the dam would be a key step towards developing the Burdekin Hydro power project, expected to create 200 jobs during construction and generate enough electricity to power 30,000 homes.

It is expected to cost between $358 million and $665 million, depending on the height increase ultimately proposed for the dam’s spillway.

The coordinated project declaration comes after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in September last year announced that Sunwater would start a $16 million business case into the dam raising

“This is a major economic capacity boosting project for North Queensland that will support more industries and more jobs for the future,” she said.

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the declaration was another positive step for plans to create new opportunities for industry, mining and agriculture by raising of the Burdekin Falls Dam, south of Townsville.

“The proposal to increase the water storage volume of Queensland’s largest dam by up to double its current capacity will now be assessed through a comprehensive impact assessment process,” Mr Stewart said.

“The decision by Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General to declare as a coordinated project will assist with rigorous planning and assessment of the project and its plans to meet the region’s future water needs.

“Sunwater, the dam’s owners and operators, are also conducting a $16 million detailed business case investigation, led by Building Queensland, as announced last September.

“Together, the coordinated project and business case processes will provide a thorough assessment and determine the optimal level of raising to be progressed.

“The project could enable an additional supply of between 150,000 and 575,000 megalitres per annum for the Burdekin-Haughton Water Supply Scheme, Townsville urban use, mining and agriculture.

“It would represent an investment of between $358 million and $665 million, depending on the height increase ultimately proposed for the dam’s spillway.”

Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General will be working with Sunwater through the full impact assessment process, including the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS).

The Coordinator-General will now prepare a draft terms of reference for the EIS and the community will be invited to have their say on what the EIS must address.

The Burdekin Falls Dam raising is the second major water infrastructure project to be declared as a coordinated project this year.

In May, the proposed $2.9 billion Urannah Dam was declared by the Coordinator-General as a coordinated project.

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