Announced Allocations
High Priority
Medium Priority
High Priority
Medium Priority
Paradise Dam
Fred Haigh Dam
Kolan Barrage
Bucca Weir
Water Pricing
Fees and Charges 2020-2021
Fees and Charges 2019-2020
Burnett Water Fees and Charges 2020-2021
Burnett Water Fees and Charges 2019-2020

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

Paradise Dam is being maintained at a reduced capacity during Essential Work to lower the dam spillway. Previous water release events occurred during:

  • September to December 2019
  • February to June 2020.

If inflows require further releases during the Essential Works, Sunwater may again announce an out of allocation event for access to water without cost.

Will there be another out of allocation water release?

The Essential Works are currently scheduled to continue through to mid-December 2020, pending good progress and no delays due to weather or overtopping events. Remaining works will be completed in 2021 after the wet season.

If the dam reaches 78 per cent (equivalent to 42 per cent prior to the spillway lowering, read more on this percentage update here) before the Essential Works activity is complete, and the downstream storages of Ned Churchward Weir and Ben Anderson Barrage are full, a further out of allocation event may be triggered.

Depending on water levels, an event may also be triggered prior to recommencing activity for the Essential Works after the wet season (likely in April or May 2021).

When will the water be available?

Customers who divert water from the Isis or Woongarra channel systems, or pump from the Burnett River downstream of Paradise Dam, can access out of allocation event water.

If you do not have access to these areas and wish to access out of allocation water, please contact Sunwater.

What can I do with out of allocation water?

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

How can I access the out of allocation water?

To access out of allocation water at no charge, customers must notify Sunwater of their start and end meter readings.

Normal fixed and variable charges will still apply to a customer’s existing allocation.

A water permit issued by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) may also be required, please see below for more information.

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

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

How do I provide meter read and photo to Sunwater?

Before taking out of allocation water, customers must submit a photo of their meter and corresponding start/end read with their name, customer or water account number and best contact number. This information can be submitted via email to customersupport@sunwater.com.au or SMS to 0400 601 795. This will need to be repeated once this event has ended. We will provide customers with notice for when this is due to occur.

If you have difficulty providing this information, please contact Customer Support on 13 15 89, Monday—Friday 8:30am- 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. Customers requiring these documents will need to submit a copy of the permit in conjunction with their start meter read.

When is a water permit required from DNRME?

From 1 July 2020, a water permit from DNRME may be required.

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).

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.

When is a short-term supply contract with Sunwater required?

A short-term supply contract is required to access water by any means other than a Sunwater metered offtake. Read more about short-term supply contracts here.

Existing customers who do not have access to the Isis or Woongarra channel systems or Burnett River downstream of Paradise Dam and wish to access an out of allocation event please contact Sunwater.

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

Sunwater closely monitors weather forecasts, rainfall, dam inflows and the dam storage level. We will endeavour to provide customers’ as much advance notice as possible, noting that the impact of inflows on the dam level can change quickly depending on catchment conditions and weather events.

Why can’t the water be released more slowly?

Paradise Dam must be maintained at a reduced capacity during the Essential Work. 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.

Scheme Management

Sunwater must comply with the conditions set out in the Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme Resource Operations Licence (ROL) published here. The ROL states the infrastructure details, environmental release rules and all monitoring and reporting obligations required by Sunwater. The ROL also requires Sunwater to operate in accordance with an operations manual that is approved by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME). The operations manual states rules for the operation of infrastructure associated with the Bundaberg scheme as well as water sharing rules and seasonal water assignment (temporary trade) rules.

The Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme ROL Operations Manual was issued in February 2020. An amendment which commenced on 1 July 2020 was approved by DNRME on 20 March 2020. A statement of changes to the operations manual can be found on the second page of this manual.

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: 2020/2021
Burnett Sub-scheme
High priority: 100%
Medium priority: 75%

Announced Allocations effective 1 January 2021 and applicable until revised and communicated by Sunwater.

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

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

DateKolan Bulk Capacity Share (ML)Burnett Bulk Capacity Share (ML)
31.07.2020263,72357, 245
31.08.2020258,67756, 634

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 1 January 2021

Operational Report

effective 1 October 2020

Operational Report

effective 1 July 2020

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

2021 Service and Performance Plan


Bundaberg Bulk Supply

2020 Network Service Plan

Bundaberg Bulk Supply

2019 Network Service Plan


Bundaberg Distribution

Bundaberg Distribution

2021 Service and Performance Plan


Bundaberg Distribution

2020 Network Service Plan

Bundaberg Distribution

2019 Network Service Plan


Scheme news

Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme Zoom Shed Talk Questions and Answers

July 2020

Invitation to Customer Shed Talk Teleconferences

June 2020


Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme Fact Sheet

May 2020

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.