Bundaberg is one of the driest sugar-producing areas in the State and up until the early 1970s agriculture had drawn on a small subartesian water resource to irrigate crops.
In 1970, the Queensland Government adopted a proposal for a two-phase scheme to provide water supplies for most of the Bundaberg district. Construction began in 1970, with the second phase completed in 1993. Ned Churchward Weir was added to the scheme in 1998.
The Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme supplies water to farmlands located in the Burnett, Kolan and Isis shires and for the city of Bundaberg and communities in the Burnett, Kolan and Isis.
The scheme is unique in Queensland in that it is the only large-scale irrigation area that was designed to serve existing farming enterprises. Over 600 kilometres of channel and pipeline traverse the landscape distributing supplies to over 1,000 properties connected to the surface water scheme.
Uses of Water
Water is supplied for the irrigation of crops including sugar cane, tomatoes, rockmelons, watermelons, capsicum, zucchini, beans, macadamia nuts and avocados.
Urban Water Supplies
The Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme supplies water to the city of Bundaberg and communities in the Burnett, Kolan, and Isis shires. These councils treat and reticulate water to residents.
Water is supplied to various industrial enterprises including sugar mills.
Fred Haigh Dam
The Fred Haigh Dam was completed in 1975 and lies approximately 75 kilometres from the mouth of the Kolan River.
Paradise Dam was completed in 2005 and is situated approximately 20kms north-west of Biggenden and 80kms south-west of Bundaberg.
Channel supplies supplement or replace demand for groundwater in the district. The Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) manages the use of groundwater.
Gooburrum Channel System
Gooburrum Pump Station, located 6 kilometres upstream of the Kolan Barrage, delivers water to the Gooburrum area through a balancing storage and system of open channels and pipelines. The reticulation system is controlled by automatic regulator gates which maintain constant downstream water levels, thereby improving distribution efficiency by providing water to farms only as required.
Abbotsford Channel System
This system supplies water from the Kolan River to farms through 4 kilometres of pipeline.
Woongarra Channel System
This system supplies customers through 122 kilometres of channel and also secures groundwater supply. Woongarra Pump Station supplies water from the Ben Anderson Barrage through a balancing storage and a system of open channels and pipelines. The reticulation system is controlled by automatic regulator gates located along the earth channels. A relift pump station, located at 23 kilometres on the Woongarra Main Channel, pumps water to a small reservoir from which the Burnett Heads and Bargara areas are served.
Givelda Channel System
This minor system originally had its own pump station from the Burnett River but is now supplied by gravity from the Isis Main Channel and provides water through 10 kilometres of pipeline.
Gin Gin Channel System
This system supplies water through 68 kilometres of open channels and pipeline. The water is supplied by gravity from Gin Gin Main Channel and by a relift pump station to the Tirroan area.
Bingera Channel System
The Bingera system supplies water through 114 kilometres of open channels and pipelines. The water is supplied by gravity from Gin Gin Main Channel through a system of open channels, pipelines and relift pump stations. Bingera Main Channel directs water into Bullyard Creek Balancing Storage from where it is pumped to supply irrigation water. Two small relift areas are supplied at McIlwraith and Bucca from the Bingera System.
Isis Channel System
Isis Pump Station, located 29 kilometres upstream of the Ben Anderson Barrage on the Burnett River, delivers water to the Isis and Givelda areas via a reticulation system which, like previously constructed systems, is operated through a network of open channels and controlled by automatic regulator gates, a balancing storage, relift pump stations and pipelines.