Proposed Urannah Dam project in QLD a step closer to being built

Monica Gameng   |   March 12, 2022
Urannah Dam project (cr: North Queensland Register)

The Australian and Queensland Governments have signed a bilateral agreement for the proposed Urannah Dam, taking the approximately $2.9 billion project a step closer to reality. 

In July last year, the Australian Government invested $12.65 million towards the project’s business case and approvals, taking its total funding for the project to $22.65 million to date. 

“The signing of the bilateral agreement is a significant step forward in delivering water security for the Broken River Valley. 

“Water supply and security help form the backbone of so many Central Queensland communities, underpinning local agricultural and primary businesses, supporting jobs and driving economic growth. 

“We are getting the job done for Central Queenslanders, and this includes delivering the water they need to live and grow into the future,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said. 

The investment from the Australian Government will enable Bowen River Utilities to progress the business case for the Urannah Dam project as well as conduct early investigations. 

“The Queensland Government made an application for funding on behalf of proponent Bowen River Utilities in June 2021,” QLD Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water Glenn Butcher said. 

The proposed dam and hydro-electric scheme are located within the Burdekin Basin in the Broken River Valley – about 86 kilometres south east of Collinsville and 80 kilometres west of Mackay. 

This transformative project will not only open up about 20,000 hectares of prime agricultural land, it is also anticipated to support over 1,800 jobs – up to 1,200 jobs during construction and 600 operational jobs. 

“This dam could help provide viable water sources to support 30 active projects and 71 new local projects, highlighting the importance of this investment for communities of Central and North Queensland. 

“The Australian Government understands just how vital the benefits of these projects could be for all these local industries, their workers and the communities that rely on them, which is why news of a signed off agreement to advance the project is so welcome,” Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said. 

The Urannah Dam business case will include detailed technical assessments as well as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will help advance the project towards investment consideration. 

The proposed project will include: 

  • A gravity fed dam on the Broken River with water storage capacity of up to 970,000 megalitres 
  • Water distribution network from the proposed dam north of the Peter Faust Dam and on to Bowen and Abbot Point, south to Eungella Dam and Moranbah – including water pipelines and instream distribution and storage of water with associated ancillary works, such as pump stations and power supply infrastructure 
  • Irrigation precinct – an irrigated agricultural development area of up to 25,000 hectares, which includes 9,850 hectares of suitable high value cropping farm development and 12,250 hectares of improved grazing and associated in-stream and off-stream storages, trunk delivery works and on-farm infrastructure 
  • Pumped hydro-electric power storage and power generation infrastructure – power generation infrastructure producing 1.4 GW + electricity supply and approximately 8GWh+ pumped storage capacity, incorporating power stations (surface and underground), dams and reservoirs, waterways and power transmission infrastructure 
  • Ancillary works and infrastructure – for example, quarries and borrows, road and access development and upgrades, site establishment areas, laydowns, site amenities and accommodation, services and utilities (including electricity, telecommunications) 

“The Australian Government has committed more than $1.15 billion to improving water infrastructure across Queensland as part of the 10-year National Water Grid construction program,” Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said. 

Both the Australian and Queensland Governments will work collaboratively to identify, plan as well as deliver water infrastructure that the State needs. 

The Australian Government is committed to delivering water infrastructure projects across Queensland. The projects include the restoration of Paradise Dam, construction of Rookwood Weir, the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme and the Big Rocks Weir. 

Source: Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development; Queensland Government – State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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