In December 2021, the Queensland Government announced that Paradise Dam will be returned to its original height, as part of significant safety improvement works.
This decision follows detailed technical investigations, which show it is possible to safely re-raise, strengthen and stabilise the dam wall.
This decision will provide a safe dam and water security for the region for years to come.
Paradise Dam Improvement Project works
Paradise Dam Improvement Project (PDIP) works will include:
• buttressing with mass concrete across the primary and secondary dam spillways and left abutment wall • new training walls • extending the existing downstream apron • raising and replacing sections of the secondary spillway.
The project will ensure that Paradise Dam meets the stringent safety criteria that apply to all dams in Australia.
The next stage of the project includes progressing design, environmental and planning approvals, early contractor engagement, and procurement activities necessary before construction can commence.
In February 2022, the Queensland and Australian Governments each announced a commitment of $600 million, a total of $1.2 billion, towards the PDIP.
Early works are expected to commence in 2023, including local road upgrades, material sourcing and investigations, and planning for a workers accommodation camp. Major works at the dam are expected to commence in 2024.
Demand and hydrology studies have shown that reinstating the dam wall to its original height will provide sufficient capacity to meet the region’s water needs for decades to come, even with the potential impacts of climate change on both water demand and yield.
The Queensland Government and Sunwater have worked closely with the Bundaberg community and irrigators to ensure the issues of safety and water security were carefully considered in this decision.
As requested by industry representatives, the Queensland Government also completed an Economic impact assessment (EIA) to inform the broader economic benefits of restoring Paradise Dam.
Out of allocation water events
Storage level management of Paradise Dam will be required from March 2023.
Releases that can’t be stores in downstream storages will be made available at no cost to Burnett River sub-scheme customers as out-of-allocation (OOA) events.
More information on how Burnett River sub-scheme customers can access the OOA water is available here.
Options to reintroduce water for sale during the PDIP
Sunwater hosted sessions in November 2022 to understand customer’s interest in making permanent water available for sale during the PDIP.
Feedback indicated that, while there is interest in purchasing water in the future, customers do not want to risk undermining security of current allocations.
Sunwater has no current plans to sell new permanent water from the Burnett River sub-scheme and will continue to engage with customers as the PDIP is implemented. A video and supporting Fact Sheet on this topic was shared prior to the customer sessions and can be found here.
Resolving distribution network constraints
Sunwater will develop a separate business case to further investigate capacity constraints within the Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme’s existing distribution network to support the region’s diversification and expansion into high value perennial tree crops like macadamias and avocados.
Sunwater will continue to engage with customers to develop plans to alleviate network constraints so that water distribution can keep pace with demand. The funding approach for this work is yet to be confirmed.
Sunwater has established the Paradise Dam Reference Group to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas between key stakeholders and Sunwater while the PDIP is implemented.
Sunwater is keen to ensure local businesses have the opportunity to tender for work generated by the PDIP. As a Government Owned Corporation, Sunwater is committed to Buy Queensland, which prioritises local businesses and jobs. We will ensure that government requirements and best practice are followed to maximise the participation of local businesses.
Upcoming opportunities will be made available via the Paradise Dam Improvement Project page on the ICN Gateway.
Sunwater assisted in the development of the Options Evaluations Report by undertaking technical assessment and testing, supporting the demand study and undertaking preliminary design of various remediation options.
The earlier stages of the Paradise DIP included flood repair works carried out in 2013 and further improvement works completed in mid-2017. The Paradise Dam Essential Works, which commenced in April 2020, were a short-term risk reduction measure while the longer-term dam remediation plan was confirmed. The final ancillary activities for the Essential Works were completed in early-2022.