Burdekin Falls Dam Raising Demand Study


The Burdekin Falls Dam Raising Project is a proposal to raise the existing dam as a potential means to increase water supply in the Burdekin and surrounding regions. Sunwater is working with Building Queensland on a detailed business case to further investigate raising the dam.

The Burdekin Falls Dam Improvement Project will ensure the dam’s long-term viability by:
•    increasing its resilience to extreme weather events
•    bringing it in line with modern engineering design standards
•    ensuring it meets the safety requirements set out in the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 (Qld).


The project follows the Foundation Drainage Improvement Project, which was completed in 2017. This second, larger project will evaluate, determine and implement the most efficient scope of works to ensure the long-term viability of the dam. Burdekin Falls Dam is one of several dams being upgraded as part Sunwater’s Dam Improvement Program.  


Proposed improvement works include raising saddle dams and spillway abutments, installing post-tensioned anchors to the dam’s main spillway and abutments, and constructing a new right-bank saddle dam.

The combined detailed business case (DBC) is anticipated to be completed in late 2021.

An Environment Impact Statement (EIS) process for the Burdekin Falls Dam Raising Project is occurring in parallel to the DBC to ensure a potential dam raise minimises or offsets any potential environmental, economic and social impacts, and any benefits are realised. The Coordinator-General is preparing a draft terms of reference for the EIS and the community will be invited to have their say on what it must address. To read Sunwater’s initial advice statement visit the Coordinator-General’s website.

Sunwater (as the proponent) is working closely with Building Queensland who is leading the detailed business case for the Burdekin Falls Dam Raising and Burdekin Falls Dam Improvement projects.

Building Queensland provides the Queensland Government with independent, expert advice and is required to lead the preparation of business cases for infrastructure projects of $100 million or more in accordance with Section 14 of the Building Queensland Act 2015. The detailed business case will align with Building Queensland’s Business Case Development Framework. The framework ensures a consistent and rigorous approach to proposal development.

NCEconomics, in partnership with Synergies Economic Consulting, have been engaged by Building Queensland to undertake an assessment of future water demand and a broader economic assessment for the detailed business case. This is a critical task underpinning the Building Queensland process to provide recommendations to the Queensland Government on the long-term community needs over the next 30 years. 

It will assess how much water is needed and from which customer segments to help inform the options being assessed by Building Queensland; such as the proposed height of a potential dam wall raising.

We encourage current and potential water users to have their say via the survey to ensure your current water use and future intentions are captured. This is particularly important for those who are looking at expanding or changing operations.

The survey will ask participants to identify their location within the services irrigation area, current and future potential crops/products, how much water they are using now and how much they think they might need in future. The survey will also test how demand might change under different pricing assumptions.

The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

All data collected will remain commercial in confidence. The study will only be reporting on aggregate estimates and your answers to questions will not be shared with any third party. However, if you are interested in purchasing water in the near future, you may nominate for our team to pass on your contact details to Sunwater.

Not everyone feels comfortable doing an online survey. Therefore, paper-based copies will also be available at the front counter of all industry organisations, Council service centres, and the offices for Lower Burdekin Water.

Paper copies are available at the following locations from the first week of October:

  • Burdekin Shire Council – 145 Young St Ayr 
  • Lower Burdekin Water – 112 Airdmillan Road Ayr
  • Kalamia Cane Growers – 140 Young St Ayr
  • Burdekin Canegrowers – 141 Young St Ayr
  • Pioneer Canegrowers – 142 Young St Ayr
  • Invicta Canegrowers – 54 Queen St Ayr
  • Burdekin Delta Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Inc – 70 Railway Street Ayr
  • BRIA Irrigators Ltd – 43 Old Clare Road Ayr