Mareeba Dimbulah

Mareeba Dimbulah


Announced Allocations
High Priority
Medium Priority
Tinaroo Falls Dam
Water Pricing
Fees and Charges 2020-2021
Fees and Charges 2019-2020

Scheme information


The Mareeba-Dimbulah Scheme consists of the Tinaroo Falls Dam, Lake Tinaroo and the Mareeba-Dimbulah Irrigation Area. The dam also supplies the Barron Gorge Hydro-electric Power Station.

How the scheme works
  • Water from Tinaroo Falls Dam is distributed by gravity through 176km of main channel to the various sections of the scheme
  • A further 189km of subsidiary channels distribute water to farms, dwellings and townships
  • Five balancing storages at Nardello’s lagoon, East Barron, Arriga, Biboohra and Jabiru Lagoon ensure effective supply is maintained throughout the system.
Water uses
  • Irrigation water for various fruit, general horticulture, sugarcane, tea-trees and coffee
  • Urban water supply for Tinaroo, Walkamin, Mareeba, Kuranda, Mutchilba, Dimbulah and Yungaburra.

Scheme Management

The Mareeba Dimbulah 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 Mareeba Dimbulah scheme as well as water sharing rules and seasonal water assignment (temporary trade) rules.

The Mareeba Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme ROL Operations Manual was issued in June 2017.

Sunwater aims to achieve the efficient delivery of water to customers in the Mareeba-Dimbulah 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.

Tinaroo Falls Dam storage level classifications

The storage level classification must be determined on the first day of each month and applies for the whole of that month regardless of any change in the storage level during the month.

The storage level classification determines the minimum flow volumes required at Barron River at Mareeba and Myola as per Attachment 2 of the Mareeba-Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme Resource Operations Licence.

July 2020Medium
August 2020Medium
September 2020Medium
October 2020Medium
November 2020Medium
December 2020Medium
January 2021Medium
February 2021Medium
March 2021Medium
April 2021Medium
May 2021High
June 2021 High
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 Mareeba-Dimbulah’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 [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 Mareeba-Dimbulah 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).

Mareeba-Dimbulah’s Irrigator Advisory Committee

The Mareeba-Dimbulah 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
Joe MoroChairMareeba Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association
Bronwyn DwyerSecretary
Eva ArenaCommittee MemberBarron River/Tinaroo Falls Dam Area
Charlie MartensCommittee MemberSunWater Service Manager, Mareeba
Peter CocuzzaCommittee MemberSunWater Operations Supervisor, Mareeba
Nigel KellyCommittee MemberRegional Manager Water Services
Shaun FassioCommittee MemberNQ Co-op
Andrew BuckleyCommittee MemberRegional Executive Director Dept. NR&M
Peter HoweCommittee MemberChannels/ Pipelines – Eastern Area
Maryann SalvettiCommittee MemberTableland CANEGROWERS Ltd
Gerard KathCommittee MemberChannels/Pipelines – Central Area
Remo TerranovaCommittee MemberMitchell Catchment Supplemented Streams
Kylie CollinsCommittee MemberChannels/ Pipelines – Western Area
Karen MuccignatCommittee Member
Evan McGrathCommittee Member

Stay up to date with the Mareeba-Dimbulah Irrigator Advisory Committee.

Announced Allocations

Water Year: 2020/2021
High  priority: 100%
Medium priority: 100%

Announced Allocations effective 1 August 2020 and will be applicable until 30 June 2021.

2019-2020 Carryover Parameters – As Tinaroo Falls Dam was less than 75% full (667.0 m AHD) on 01.07.2020 carryover will not be available.

Carryover Methodology

Maximum Volume of Carryover = 97.5% of the total volume of unused water for the scheme at the end of the water year.

Maximum volume of water that may be carried over by a water user must not be more than 97.5% of their remaining volume at the end of the water year.

(Water User remaining volume x 97.5%) x 100% x 85%

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

History of Announced Allocations

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 August 2020

Operational Report

effective 1 July 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.

Mareeba Bulk Supply

Mareeba Bulk Supply

2022 Draft Service and Performance Plan

Mareeba Bulk Supply

2021 Service and Performance Plan

Mareeba Bulk Supply

2020 Network Service Plan


Mareeba Distribution

Mareeba Distribution

2022 Draft Service and Performance Plan


Mareeba Distribution

2021 Service and Performance Plan

Mareeba Distribution

2020 Network Service Plan


Scheme news

Mareeba-Dimbulah planned shutdowns

May 2020


Copper sulfate code of practice fact sheet

January 2020


EOWY Newsletter



EOWY Newsletter



Scheme history

Tobacco farmer
Tobacco farmer Antonio (Tony) Ricci pictured tending seedbeds on his farm just outside Dimbulah circa 1990. The Ricci farm converted to vegetable cropping following the demise of tobacco.
Image courtesy the Ricci family

Mareeba-Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme

Tobacco was first produced in the region in 1928 and the Queensland Government promptly earmarked large areas of land for growing a leaf that was in huge demand. But consistency of water supply became a perennial problem. The decision was made in 1952 to build the Tinaroo Falls Dam and the scheme was established.

Its benefits to the region continue long after tobacco has been replaced with alternate cropping. Some 800 farms growing a huge diversity of crops including sugar cane, mangoes, bananas, pawpaw, citrus, avocados and coffee are supplied with water via more than 360 km of channels.

The dam delivers water to communities including Tinaroo, Walkamin, Mareeba, Kuranda, Mutchilba, Dimbulah and Yungaburra, and provides secondary flood attenuation from flood run-off in the Barron River.

Water is also released into the Barron River for environmental purposes and to provide an assured supply to the Barron Gorge Hydro Electric Power Station at Kuranda. A small hydro power station at the dam wall was added in 2004.