This link will take you to the latest updates and all previous blog posts relating to this campaign.
There are active proposals for a total of four new dams/weirs on the Burdekin: Hells Gates Dam (HGD); Big Rocks Weir, raising of the Burdekin Falls Dam and Urannah Dam. The cumulative effect of the additional water extraction of these will have a disastrous impact on the health of the Burdekin and the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon. Impacts include:
a) turning the Burdekin turbid for 12 months of the year below the dams (in the case of the HGD - for 270km or 52% of the Burdekin length), affecting all aquatic life in the river.
b) increased rise of the water table and salination in the Lower Burdekin Irrigation Areas, threatening established crop production.
c) sediment starvation and erosion of Cape Bowling Green (CBG). Breaching of CBG would radically affect Bowling Green Bay, and potentially affect the coastal communities of Cungalla and Jerona.
d) increased nutrient flows to the GBR from additional areas of agriculture. This would further intensify the existing threat to GBR water quality, reef health and biodiversity.
NQCC first raised concerns on the proposal for the Hells Gates Dam in October 2016 and again in November 2019. The Feasibility Study (2018) showed that irrigated agriculture in the proposed areas would not be economic for farmers, and yet a further $24M has been granted for a detailed Business Case Study.
In early 2020, NQCC formed the Burdekin Basin Sub-Committee which has;
a) studied a wide range of reports and academic studies;
b) conducted field visits to inspect sensitive sites (e.g. Cape Bowling Green erosion);
c) hosted a high-level seminar attended by a range of stakeholders (local councils, irrigators, fishing industry and environmental agencies) which covered issues in all areas of the Burdekin Basin;
d) made a submission to the Coordinator General for a coordinated approach to assessing proposals for water extraction and longer-term management of the Burdekin Basin.
This web page brings the results of this work together for all agencies and individuals with responsibilities and concerns for sustainable water management in the Burdekin, and in Australia more generally. The site will be updated as additional information and progress in activities becomes available.
Studies and reports made since the time of construction of the BFD describe potential and emerging impacts of dams on the Burdekin. These represent a small fraction of the reports on the Burdekin River, its associated wetlands and the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon.
An important subsection of commissioned reports are the Feasibility and Business Case Studies for the four dam proposals on the Burdekin funded by the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
Environmental studies/reports are listed according to the section of the Burdekin Basin that apply to, i.e.
· Upper Burdekin
· Lower Burdekin
· Coastal areas
· GBR lagoon.
A further section includes documents related to Townsville's Water Security and Dam operation and stability.
This is a guest post written by Chelsea Broad, who attended the World Wetlands Day event put on by NQ Dry Tropics on Thursday 2nd Feb 2017. The views expressed in this post are the author's and not necessarily those of NQCC.
AIMS - photo: Chelsea Broad
World Wetlands Day works to educate the community on the issues facing the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and inspire the community to take action to protect the GBR and associated wetlands. More than 50 community members participated in educational lectures from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and tours of ReefHQ and AIMS, including the world class scientific laboratory, SeaSim, within the Townsville region.
Did you know that keeping inland wetlands healthy is crucial for protecting the GBR?Read more
7pm Thursday 31 March, Townsville Yacht Club, 1 Plume St, South Townsville
Speakers: Jeremy Goldberg, CSIRO; Jon Brodie, JCU
When it comes to love, our Great Barrier Reef has no equal.
Three out of four Australians feel that the Reef is part of their identity as Australians, according to new research led by CSIRO’s Jeremy Goldberg. And as Australia’s ‘most inspiring icon’ the Reef was found to be over five times more significant than Uluru.
But when it comes to money, the Reef just ain’t up there.Read more