Announced Allocations
High Priority
Medium Priority
High Priority
Medium Priority
Fred Haigh Dam
Paradise Dam
Kolan Barrage
Bucca Weir
Water Pricing
Fees and Charges 2019-2020
Fees and Charges 2018-2019
Burnett Water Fees and Charges 2019-2020
Burnett Water Fees and Charges 2018-2019

Scheme information


The Bundaberg Scheme supplies water to farmlands and communities in Burnett, Kolan and Isis Shire as well as Bundaberg city. The scheme sources water from Fred Haigh and Paradise Dam.

Burnett Water

Burnett Water Pty Ltd (BWPL) became a subsidiary company of Sunwater on 16 December 2005 after Sunwater bought all the shares in the company from the Queensland State Government.

BWPL was set up by the State Government in 2001 to progress much needed water infrastructure in the Wide Bay-Burnett region. The water infrastructure construction projects developed by Burnett Water were Paradise Dam and Kirar Weir.

Paradise Dam is located 80kms from Bundaberg and makes available 124,000 megalitres of Medium Priority and 20,000 megalitres of High Priority Water Allocations. Kirar Weir is situated on the Burnett River, 5kms for Eidsvold, and makes available 20,000 megalitres of Medium Priority Water Allocations.

How the scheme works
  • More than 600km of channel and pipeline distribute supplies to more than 1,000 properties
  • The scheme consists of seven distinct channel systems that supplement or replace demand for groundwater in the district.
Water uses
  • Irrigation water for crops including sugar cane, tomatoes, rockmelons, watermelons, capsicum, zucchini, beans, macadamia nuts and avocados
  • Urban water supply for Bundaberg and communities in the Burnett, Kolan and Isis Shires
  • Industrial water for various enterprise including sugar mills.

Opportunistic access to Paradise Dam water releases – 13 February to 8 June 2020

Water releases are available through an Out of Allocation Event from 13 February to 8 June, 2020 in order to lower Paradise Dam’s capacity to 42 percent for Essential Works.

Paradise Dam must be maintained at 42 per cent capacity during Essential Work to lower the dam spillway. If inflows require further releases during the Essential Works, Sunwater will again announce an Out of Allocation Event for access to water without cost.

Important – end meter reads required by 10 June

Customers must notify Sunwater of their end meter readings by close of business Wednesday 10 June 2020. If no reading is supplied to Sunwater, the water used during this period will be charged at the standard rate.

Customers are required to submit a photo with their name, account number, contact number and final meter reading via email to customersupport@sunwater.com.au or SMS to 0400 601 795. If you have difficulty providing this information, please contact Sunwater on 13 15 89 Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4.30pm or your grower representative group before close of business Wednesday 10 June 2020.

How can the water be accessed?

  • To access out of allocation water at no charge, customers must have notified Sunwater of their start and end meter readings.
  • To access water from the two standpipe locations you need a short-term access agreement with Sunwater.
  • Fixed and variable charges will still apply to customers’ normal allocation.
  • Read below to determine if you also need to have applied for and hold a water permit issued by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME).

Please note this advice does not relate to treated town water supplied by Bundaberg and North Burnett regional councils.

Provide Sunwater with a photo of your meter reading and off-take number at the start and end of this event.

Note: Any customers that divert water during this period who have not provided Sunwater with the details above will have the usage debited against their existing allocation, for which normal charges apply.

When will the water be available?

The event commenced at midday Thursday 13 February and will cease at midday on Monday 8 June 2020.

Who can access this water?

Customers who divert water from the Isis or Woongarra channel systems or pump from the Burnett River downstream of Paradise Dam.

Customers can access water during this event for either direct application onto crops or storage for later use.

How do I provide meter read and photo to Sunwater?

Before taking this water, customers must submit a photo with their name, account number and contact number via email to customersupport@sunwater.com.au or SMS to 0400 601 795. This will need to be repeated once the cessation date has been communicated.

If you have difficulty providing this information, please contact Sunwater on 13 15 89 Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4.30pm  or your grower representative group.

Important – you may need a Water Permit from DNRME and/or a short-term access agreement with Sunwater to access this water.

When is a Water Permit required from DNRME?

  • Unlike the release last year, you may now need a Water Permit from DNRME,
  • The Permit will be required from 1 July 2020, and possibly earlier if Sunwater’s allocation is released before that date.
  • A Water Permit is ONLY required for customers or others from the community who access the water directly from the Burnett River and the Elliott and Gregory catchments (including Mahogany Creek). You should apply for a Water Permit now.
  • Any questions regarding Water Permits should be raised with DNRME by calling 1800 135 531.
  • Sunwater channel customers taking water from the Isis and Woongarra Channel systems DO NOT require a water permit as Sunwater will apply for a Water Permit to cover the opportunistic take of water through the Don Beattie (Isis) and Woongarra pump stations. This permit will cover the take of water by our channel customers.

When is a Short-Term Supply Contract with Sunwater required?

  • To access water by any means other than a Sunwater metered offtake.
  • If you are an existing customer who does not have access to these downstream areas but seek to access water at no charge, you may do so from one of the standpipe locations. The standpipes are located on the channel at Mittelheuser Road near the corner of Grange Road and on Clayton’s Road, Cordalba.
  • Download the Short-Term Supply Contract form here.

Why can’t Sunwater provide advance notice of this water availability?

Sunwater closely monitors weather forecasts, rainfall, dam inflows and dam levels daily. The impact of inflows on the dam level can change quickly depending on catchment conditions and weather events. As such, we have limited ability to provide advanced notice to customers.

Why can’t the water be released more slowly?

As previously announced, the dam must be maintained at 42 per cent capacity to enable the essential work to commence. Given this work is required for community safety reasons, we need to release water following inflows as soon as practical.

We understand that our customers would like the water to be released over a longer period of time to maximise the opportunity to utilise the water. The release rate and timing are determined by the safety requirements.

Are events like this anticipated to continue?

If there are more inflows into Paradise Dam during this water year, further water may be released and made available.

Scheme Management

Sunwater aims to achieve the efficient delivery of water to customers in the Bundaberg scheme that best meets their needs. To manage this water delivery, arrangements for taking of water within the Scheme have been developed in consultation with its Irrigator Advisory Committee.

Taking water from the scheme

The water ordering system assists Sunwater in delivering water to its customers in an efficient and timely way, enabling them to plan and manage their water use.

Before taking any water, customers should place a water order so that Sunwater can release sufficient water and minimise losses.

Customers who take water without ordering may reduce Sunwater’s ability to supply customers who have ordered according to the above requirements.

To place an order

Customers can place their orders via:

Further information about ordering water is detailed in Bundaberg’s Rules and Targets.

Stopping or restricting supply

Sunwater may suspend or restrict supply in a number of circumstances, including:

  • during maintenance of Sunwater’s assets
  • during a peak demand period, when rosters or rations may apply
  • when the demand for water is so small it is impractical to supply it
  • when there is a need to make special releases to maximise efficiency at times of limited supply
  • during rain shutdown
  • infrastructure limitations which make delivery impractical
  • if supply could cause Sunwater to break the law
  • when operating under special notices or regulations issued by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines {e.g. Water Amendment Regulation (No.3) 2006}.
Weather events and emergency shutdowns

Sunwater asks that customers notify their duty Water Officer, as soon as possible, of any rain event or other circumstances that substantially lessens their water requirements. When wide spread general rain exceeds 40 mm in a day over the Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme, the duty Water Officer may shut the system down.

Customers are also asked to cancel orders if they no longer require ordered water.

For more information contact

If you experience an equipment or power failure emergency, please give immediate notice to Sunwater by calling Sunwater Customer Support on 131589 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Bundaberg’s Irrigator Advisory Committee

The Bundaberg Irrigator Advisory Committee is a group of irrigators within the scheme that have been elected by irrigation customers to represent their interests in relation to scheme operations and water supply issues and improvements with Sunwater.

The committee:

  • provides advice and recommendations to Sunwater regarding scheme operational issues
  • represents the interests of the broader irrigator base in respect of Sunwater’s ongoing operation of the water supply scheme
  • provides a mechanism for Sunwater and its customers to raise and discuss matters of mutual interest in relation to the management of the physical aspects of the scheme and customer relationship issues.
  • work collaboratively with Sunwater to identify and introduce new approaches and improvements to water management.
Committee members
NamePositionRepresentative Area/Section
Mark MamminoChairmanCanegrowers Isis Ltd
VacantCommittee MemberKolan River
Peter McLennanCommittee MemberBurnett River
Tyler BengstonCommittee MemberGin Gin
Peter RussoCommittee MemberIsis Channel System
Mark PresslerCommittee MemberWoongarra Channel System
VacantCommittee MemberGooburrum Channel System
Kelvin GriffinCommittee MemberCanegrowers Bundaberg
Bree GrimaCommittee MemberBundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers Cooperative (tree crops)
Jason BartellsCommittee MemberBundaberg Regional Council
John GorringeCommittee MemberIsis Central Sugar Mill
Angela WilliamsObserverCanegrowers Isis
Dale HollisObserverBundaberg Regional Irrigators Committee
Simon DoyleCommittee MemberBundaberg Sugar

Sunwater is currently consulting with Bundaberg customers regarding the potential trial of an electricity cost pass-through mechanism. For more information about the consultation process, visit the Water Pricing Review page.

Stay up to date with the Bundaberg  Irrigator Advisory Committee.

Announced Allocations

Water Year: 2019/2020
Burnett Sub-scheme
High priority: 100%
Medium priority: 100% (previously 82%)

Announced Allocations effective 11 February 2020 and applicable until revised and communicated by Sunwater.

Kolan Sub-scheme
High priority: 100%
Medium priority: 100%

Announced Allocations effective 1 July 2019 and applicable until revised and communicated by Sunwater.

DateKolan Bulk Capacity Share (ML)Burnett Bulk Capacity Share (ML)
31.01.2020282,050 59,638

Customers are advised to obtain information about their remaining water allocation balance by accessing SunwaterOnline.

For more information or enquiries, phone 13 15 89 or email customersupport@sunwater.com.au.

History of Announced Allocations

AA history

Operational Report

Sunwater releases periodic operational reports detailing Announced Allocation levels and individual storages’ breakdowns within each scheme, the latest of which can be found below.

Operational Report

effective 11 February 2020

Operational Report

effective 1 January 2020

Operational Report

effective 1 July 2019


Service and Performance Plans

Sunwater prepares an annual Service and Performance Plan (S&PP) for each irrigation service contract area. S&PPs replace the former annual Network Service Plans and annual Performance Reports.
For further information about this service, please visit the Service and Performance Plan page.

Bundaberg Bulk Supply

Bundaberg Bulk Supply

2020 Network Service Plan


Bundaberg Bulk Supply

2019 Network Service Plan


Bundaberg Distribution

Bundaberg Distribution

2020 Network Service Plan


Bundaberg Distribution

2019 Network Service Plan


Scheme news

Customer Update

May 2020


Customer Update

March 2020

EOWY Newsletter



Scheme history

Reliable water supply means Bundaberg sugar cane can thrive
Reliable water supply means Bundaberg sugar cane can thrive

Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme

Perhaps more than any other town in Queensland, Bundaberg is synonymous with the sugar industry.  But with only about 1000 mm of annual rainfall, the area is one of the driest environments for growing sugar in Australia.

In the 1960s two things contributed to a growing water need — the amount of cane being farmed doubled as world demand for sugar soared, and three serious droughts in 1964, 1965 and 1969. As a result, the underground water source that agriculture in the region had primarily relied upon, dwindled and salinity started to rise.

In 1970, the Queensland Government implemented a two-stage plan to provide reliable water for the district. Today the scheme consists of more than 600 km of channels and pipelines, Fred Haigh and Paradise dams, Ned Churchward and Bucca weirs, and two barrages to supply water to more than 1,100 farms, the city of Bundaberg, and several other communities in the Burnett, Kolan and Isis shires.