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Burdekin Falls Dam Improvement Program

Burdekin Falls Dam
A saddle dam at Lake Dalrymple
Burdekin Falls Dam

SunWater is currently managing a Dam Improvement Program across its network of assets. This is a prioritised series of projects designed to ensure the highest levels of safety are maintained across all SunWater dams.

Burdekin Falls Dam has been providing water for Far North Queensland communities since 1987, but since this time there have been changes to industry-wide dam safety standards and hydrological information. To enable the dam to continue performing long into the future, SunWater is currently implementing phased works under its Dam Improvement Program. This is in addition to regular maintenance works.

Foundation Drainage Improvement Project

Timeline: project completed in 2017

SunWater completed improvement works to Burdekin Falls Dam's foundation drainage systems in 2017.

Existing drains have been refurbished and additional drains drilled into the dam’s foundations from the lower access gallery and below the spillway apron. These drains are designed to reduce up-lift pressure on the foundations and ensure the drains continue functioning as designed, for many years to come.

Saddle Dam and Monoliths Improvement Project

Timeline: project completion expected end of 2023

The Saddle Dam and Monoliths Improvement Project at Burdekin Falls Dam continues improvement works that commenced with the Foundation Drainage Improvement Project in 2017. This second, larger project will evaluate, determine and implement the most efficient scope of works to improve the risk profile of the dam for the impact of increased weather events.

Capital works being considered include the raising of saddle dams around the perimeter of Dalrymple Lake to better contain water and control releases during significant weather events. The structural capacity of the main dam and spillway will also be reinforced as part of the project.

SunWater is currently reviewing the dam’s catchment hydrology and undertaking a comprehensive risk assessment. This is expected to be complete late in 2018, and will help inform project design requirements going forward.

A detailed business case, led by Building Queensland under the Queensland Government’s Project Assurance Framework, will then be progressed in 2019. It is expected construction works will start in 2020 and take up to three years to complete.