2008 – Securing water for growth in regional Queensland

Tim Donaghy

Abstract: Queensland’s regions need additional water supply infrastructure to underpin the future economic growth of the state, and secure the water supplies of existing communities in light of climate variability.

Queensland’s economy has consistently been the fastest growing of all the States for the last decade. The major component of Queensland’s growth is underpinned by resources and industry, in regional areas of the State. If the enabling infrastructure is absent, or if timeframes for development do not align with the needs of the industry, this growth will be constrained, or will go elsewhere. Future investments that support growth cannot and will not occur without certainty around the availability of future water supply.

Queensland’s regions are emerging from the worst drought in recorded history, this has revealed serious deficiencies in the resilience of our regional water supplies. For the first time in living memory, major regional centres have been forced to face the prospect of running out of water.
The Queensland Government has been proactive in identifying these issues and has responded resolutely through the release of Statewide Water Policy which supports a $451 million investment in regional water infrastructure, which aims to meet the needs of urban and rural users.

As part of this policy SunWater has been named proponent for a range of projects considered essential for Queensland’s future economic sustainability which include the Nathan Dam on the Dawson River, Water for Bowen & Proserpine Pipeline Projects, Rookwood Weir & Eden Bann Weir Raising (with RRC & GAWB), Connors River Dam & Pipelines, Nullinga Dam and Kinchant Dam Raising. SunWater is also investigating the raising of Queensland’s largest dam, Burdekin Dam. This paper will outline the need for water supply infrastructure within regional Queensland, and the challenges faced by the projects being progressed by SunWater including the technical issues, environmental sustainability and approvals, and commercial development challenges.

Keywords: Queensland, Water Supply Infrastructure, Dams

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