Dam raising proposal

Raising the Burdekin Falls Dam wall a political football


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Raising the Burdekin Falls Dam wall is one of the projects being investigated in the north. Photo - Wade Howlett, Photography by Wade.

Raising the Burdekin Falls Dam wall is one of the projects being investigated in the north. Photo - Wade Howlett, Photography by Wade.

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A study will be undertaken into raising the Burdekin Falls Dam wall to boost agricultural enterprises and provide greater water security for the North.

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THE state government has pledged $16 million to undertake a business case into the potential of raising the Burdekin Falls Dam wall, however the LNP claims the project should already be well underway.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Townsville this week said publicly-owned Sunwater would the detailed business case into the potential raising of Queensland's largest dam.

"This is not only boosting the Townsville region's water security," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"Upgrading the Burdekin Falls Dam is 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 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.

"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 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, would work with Building Queensland to investigate the costs and engineering options for raising the Burdekin Falls Dam wall.

However, Burdekin MP and LNP natural resources spokesman Dale Last hit back at the announcement, saying Labor had pledged $100 million for the hydro project back in 2017, but the funds were rediverted.

"The Labor Government's own Building Queensland report confirms the $100 million earmarked and the Burdekin hydro project is going elsewhere," Mr Last said.

"The fake announcement from Annastacia Palaszczuk about a business case for raising the dam wall is more about the next election than upgrading dams and creating jobs in North Queensland.

"Talk about a slow-moving government - the LNP announced we would raise the Burdekin Falls Dam in June last year.

"Today Labor said they would finally fund a business case for the dam wall, but it wouldn't be until 2024. They are treating North Queenslanders with contempt and this community will see through her spin.

"I know Labor moves slow but that is seriously glacial."

The LNP has already committed to progressing the Nullinga Dam project on the Atherton Tablelands, the Urannah Dam project north-west of Mackay and raising the Burdekin Falls Dam south of Townsville.

The story Dam raising proposal first appeared on North Queensland Register.

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