Burdekin Falls Dam Raising

Burdekin Falls Dam Raising

Burdekin Falls Dam, North Queensland

The Burdekin Falls Dam Raising Project proposes to raise the existing dam by two metres to increase water supply and support future water demand in the Burdekin and surrounding regions.

Photo of Burdekin Falls Dam spillway

The Project

Sunwater has been investigating a proposal to raise the Burdekin Falls Dam to meet future water demand and support the dam’s long-term viability.

Sunwater submitted a detailed business case (DBC) to the Queensland Government for review which outlined:

  • options to increase the dam’s water supply and long-term viability
  • required safety improvements.

The DBC also included:

  • a comprehensive forecast of water demand to 2050 to inform the potential raising height
  • an assessment of the social, environmental, economic, and financial feasibility of the options for the dam.

The DBC aligned with the Queensland Government’s Business Case Development Framework.

The key benefits of the proposed project will be:

  • increased water supply supporting economic growth in the region
  • increased resilience to extreme weather events
  • bringing the dam in line with modern engineering design standards
  • ensuring the dam meets the safety requirements set out in the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 (Qld).

An environmental impact statement (EIS) is now being progressed for a two-metre raising of the dam.
The proposed two-metre raise will increase the storage capacity by approximately 574,240 megalitres or 31 per cent. This will take the total capacity of the dam to an estimated 2,434,240 megalitres and increase the availability of medium priority water by approximately 150,000 ML per annum. Burdekin Falls will remain the largest dam in Queensland.

More information on the proposed raising and required EIS is available in this fact sheet.

Irrespective of whether a raising is approved, Burdekin Falls Dam requires a compulsory upgrade, and these safety improvement works will need to proceed. Further details on the improvement works are outlined on the Burdekin Falls Dam Improvement Project webpage.

While the proposed works for both the improvement and raising projects differ, the works required as part of the dam raising will also meet the safety requirements of the Dam Improvement Project.

What’s involved?

The proposed works involve raising the existing spillway by two metres, raising the abutments using concrete buttressing, raising and widening the saddle dams, and constructing a new saddle dam on the right bank.

The proposed design solution for the raising with concrete buttressing meets the safety compliance requirements.

Preliminary design – spillway and abutment raising for illustrative purposes only.
Preliminary design – saddle dam raising – for illustrative purposes only.