Burdekin Haughton

Burdekin Haughton


Announced Allocations
High Priority
Medium Priority
Burdekin Falls Dam
Clare Weir
Val Bird Weir
Giru Weir
Water Pricing
Fees and Charges 2020-2021
Fees and Charges 2019-2020

Scheme information


The Burdekin Haughton Scheme supplies water for irrigation customers in the lower Burdekin River region and supplements urban and industrial requirements for Townsville and Thuringowa.

How the scheme works

The scheme sources its water from Burdekin Falls Dam covering an area of 22,400 hectares and ponds water 50km up the Burdekin River. It operates in conjunction with existing storages including the Clare and Gorge Weir on the Burdekin River, and Val Bird and Giru Weir on the Haughton River.

  • Channels systems are located on both sides of the Burdekin River. Each section is served by major pump stations located on Clare Weir
  • The pump stations divert water into main channels on each river bank and then to customers
  • Tom Fenwick Pump Station services the Haughton and Barratta Main Channels that provides water to customers between the Burdekin and Haughton rivers
  • The Haughton Main Channel supplements the Haughton River and Giru groundwater area.
Water uses
  • Irrigation water for farmers
  • Urban water supply for Townsville and Thuringowa
  • Industrial water for local business including quarries and sugar mills
  • Supplement to groundwater supplies.

Scheme Management

The Burdekin Haughton Water Supply Scheme Resource Operations Licence (ROL) published here requires Sunwater to operate in accordance with an operations manual that is approved by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy. The operations manual states rules for the operation of infrastructure associated with the Burdekin Haughton scheme as well as water sharing rules and seasonal water assignment (temporary trade) rules.

The Burdekin Haughton Water Supply Scheme ROL Operations Manual was issued in May 2017.

Sunwater aims to achieve the efficient delivery of water to customers in the Burdekin Haughton scheme that best meets their needs.

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:

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 [Link to contacts page], 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 Burdekin Haughton 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 13 15 89 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Aquatic Weed Management

The Aquatic Weed Management Plan outlines dates for the following activities:

  • Acrolein injection (requires channel and/or scheme shutdowns)
  • Acrolein boom application (requires a channel and/or scheme shutdown)
  • Channel excavation (does not require a channel and/or scheme shutdown).
Aquatic Weed Management Plan


Burdekin Haughton’s Irrigator Advisory Committee

The Burdekin Haughton 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
Mario BarbagelloChairperson
Terry WilliamsDeputy Chair
Gordon RobertsonCommittee Member
Alan MilanCommittee Member
Mauro GarbuioCommittee Member
Greg BarbagelloCommittee Member
Russell McNeeBRAIC Manager

Stay up to date with the Burdekin Haughton Irrigator Advisory Committee.

Announced Allocations

Water Year: 2020/2021
High priority: 100%
Medium priority: 100% (previously 98%)

Announced Allocations effective 1 November 2020 and applicable until revised and communicated by Sunwater.

2019-2020 Carryover Parameters – CAP 269,898 ML with Pro rata to be advised.

Carryover Methodology

Maximum Volume of Carryover = 25% of the total nominal volume for the scheme.

Maximum volume of water that may be carried over by a water user must not be more than 94.6% of their remaining volume at the end of the water year.

(Water User remaining volume x 94.6%) x 100% x 90

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
Burdekin Haughton

AA history

Operational reports

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 1 November 2020

Operational Report

effective 1 September 2020

Operational Report

effective 1 August 2020

Operational Report

effective 1 July 2020

Operational Report

effective 1 Sept 2019

Operational Report

effective 1 Aug 2019

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.

Burdekin Bulk Supply

Burdekin Bulk Supply

2022 Draft Service and Performance Plan


Burdekin Bulk Supply

2021 Service and Performance Plan

Burdekin Bulk Supply

2020 Network Service Plan


Burdekin Distribution

Burdekin Distribution

2022 Draft Service and Performance Plan


Burdekin Distribution

2021 Service and Performance Plan

Burdekin Distribution

2020 Network Service Plan


Scheme news

EOWY Newsletter



Proposed change to annual maintenance shutdowns

December 2020

Interruption to water supply

January 2021


Scheme history

A meeting of the Burdekin Catchment Advisory Committee in 1999

Burdekin Haughton Water Supply Scheme

The Burdekin is known primarily for its sugar industry — its cane has the highest sugar content in Australia. The area also produces fruit and vegetables such as capsicums, eggplant, rockmelons, squash, pumpkins, watermelons and sweet corn as well as rice. And let’s not forget the region’s famous mangoes.

The Burdekin River Project, established in 1980 as the largest land and water conservation scheme undertaken in Queensland, underpins the rich agricultural diversity of the region stretching from Townsville in the north to Bowen to the south, covering towns including Home Hill, Ayr, Giru, Clare, Millaroo and Dalbeg.

The irrigation area was established in the early 1950s as a soldier settlement scheme on 7,500 ha of the lower Burdekin floodplain around Clare, Millaroo and Dalbeg. Today the scheme irrigates about 50,000 ha of farmland through 387 km of channels and pipelines and 366 km of drains, and supplements the urban and industrial needs of the twin cities of Townsville and Thuringowa. As well as Burdekin Falls Dam, there are three weirs — Clare, Val Bird and Giru.