The Queensland government has approved the development of a $16 million detailed business case into the potential raising of Queensland’s largest dam.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that upgrading the Burdekin Falls Dam was the next step in developing the Burdekin Hydro power project, which is expected to create 200 jobs during construction and generate enough electricity to power 30,000 homes.
The premier said the project could also help boost to water security measures in the region.
“The Burdekin Falls dam is the at the heart of one of Queensland’s largest agricultural hubs and the extra water for irrigation could support another 10,000 hectares of production,” she said.
“Investigations to date show enough interest from farmers and industry in more water, as well as future urban demand in Townsville.
“Any major investment like this needs to have a detailed business case to back it up and that’s precisely the action we’re taking.”
The proposal is to raise the spillway crest of the dam to increase capacity. The detailed business case will include analysis of the environmental, economic, financial, and sustainability factors and an environmental impact statement.
The detailed business case will investigate the most viable height by which to raise the dam, but as an example, raising the dam by two meters would increase the storage capacity by approximately 150,000 megalitres—bringing the total capacity to 2.01 million megalitres.
Sunwater, the government-owned corporation that owns and operates the dam, wouldwork with Building Queensland to investigate the costs and engineering options for raising the Burdekin Falls Dam wall.
State natural resources minister Anthony Lynham said the Palaszczuk Government had previously invested $225 million into Townsville’s water security – $215 million for Stage 1 of the pipeline and another $10 million for Townsville City Council’s Water Smart Package to help residents use water sustainably.
“Progressing to a detailed business case for raising the wall is separate to these measures and a further commitment to the people of Townsville,” he said.