A New Chapter for the Burdekin?
The next 12-18 months will see the replacement of the Burdekin Basin Water Plan get into full swing, and the recent announcement of a Regional Water Assessment means that the mechanisms might just be in place to protect the mighty Burdekin from the threats of over-development.Read more
An Open Letter to the Hon Bob Katter MP
This letter was written in response to The Hon Bob Katter MP's comments in this article, published in the Townsville Bulletin. We immediately responded with this open letter, from which some statements were published about a week later. You can read the printed article here.
Contrary to your recent claims that North Queensland Conservation Council (NQCC) represents the people of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and that we’ve “never set foot off a pavement”, we have more in common than you think.Read more
Responsible water conservation is more critical than ever to help prevent catastrophic droughts and bushfires. For information and advice relating to responsible water conservation, we encourage you to explore the resources below.Read more
Water Security and Dams
This contains reports on the water security for Townsville and on dam operation and stability, in particular for Burdekin Falls and Paradise Dams.
Burdekin Falls Dam – Testing the Boundary of Hydrology. 8 pages (2009)
Authors: Ayre, B., Gillespie, S.
[NOTE: technical paper describing weaknesses in BFD design and need for the Dam Improvement Project]
Burdekin Falls – Dam Improvement Project
Paradise dam – Commission of inquiry - Report. (572 pages) April 2020
Author: Queensland Government: DNRME
Townsville water security – final report. 20 pages (2018)
Authors: Brad Webb, chair: Townsville Water Security Task Force
Stage 2 Haughton Pipeline Project - detailed business case. 240 pages (2019)
Authors: Jacobs for Dept of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities
Our Burdekin Basin
LATEST UPDATES: Burdekin Regional Assessment announced in joint media release (17 May 2023).
Dam Proposals and Feasibility Studies
Water Security and Dams
Seminar: Ensuring a Viable Burdekin Basin (Sept 2020)
The Burdekin Basin supports a range of landscapes and communities, and activities such as agriculture, fishing and recreation.
Numerous dam proposals along the Burdekin could threaten the long-term health of the river, as well as the Ramsar wetlands of Bowling Green Bay and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
Urannah Dam, Hells Gates Dam, Big Rocks Weir and the expansion of the Burdekin Falls Dam could together contribute to:
- increased turbidity (dirtiness) of the Burdekin River
- rising water tables (and associated threats to agricultural production) in the Lower Burdekin
- the erosion of Cape Bowling Green due to sediment starvation, and
- increased nutrient flows to the Great Barrier Reef.
We have listed some useful resources on this page.
We aim to raise awareness of the risks associated with multiple, large-scale dam proposals and work with policy-makers, stakeholders and North Queensland communities to ensure the best outcomes for people, industry and the environment. We are working to prevent the Burdekin River from becoming the next Murray-Darling and advocating for an integrated management approach.
- This document was prepared by Dr Eric Wolanski and John Connell, and provides a summary of some of the environmental issues facing the Burdekin Basin, with a focus on the erosion of Cape Bowling Green.
- Check out the Productivity Commission webinar (02/03/2021) on National Water Reform 2020 here.
- Read our submission on the National Water Reform draft report here.
- Read our latest submissions on the Burdekin Falls Dam Raising Project and the Urannah Dam Project here.
- The Terms of Reference for the Environmental Impact Statement for Big Rocks Weir have been released, as of July 2021.
Hells Gates Dam: Feasible? We Think Not
There is no need for the Hells Gates Dam and it makes no sense! When Townsville faced a water crisis several years ago, all sorts of suggestions were made about the best way to secure a water supply for Townsville. The Hells Gates Dam was suggested by many as the way to guarantee water supply for Townsville, but we disagree.Read more
Townsville's Water Security
Between them, the very low level of Ross Dam, TCC's water restrictions (currently Level 3) and the continuing lack of rain focused unprecedented attention on Townsville's water security from 2015 onwards and particularly from 2016 after the city recorded its driest-ever year in 2015 (2016 was not much better). It seems that most people realise there is no single solution - that we will have to approach the problem on several fronts to fix it - but there is little agreement on priorities.
NQCC published four blog posts under the heading NQCC Water Security Series towards the end of 2016:
- Part 1: Townsville Water Discussion Paper (Gail Hamilton)
- Part 2: Water Wonderland or Pipe Dreams? (Vern Veitch, re Hell's Gate Dam)
- Part 3: Hell’s Gate Dam Forum (Maree Dibella for NQCC)
- Part 4: How will climate change affect Townsville’s water security? (Malcolm Tattersall)
A Case For a Floating Solar Farm in Townsville’s Ross River Dam (Elly Hanrahan) is not nominally part of the series but follows naturally from it.Read more
A Case For a Floating Solar Farm on Townsville’s Ross River Dam
This study on the viability of a Floating Solar Farm on the Ross Dam is a guest post by Elly Hanrahan, an intern for the North Queensland Conservation Council. All views expressed are the author's and not necessarily those of the NQCC.
Townsville is currently experiencing its driest 11-month period since records began in 1841. With no action on water security from any level of government, desperate residents have formed the newly created Facebook group called ‘Water For Townsville Action Group’ in order to come up with a plan to secure Townsville’s water supply into the future.Read more
Paperbark December 2016 - Mr Adani Comes to Town
Welcome to the final Paperbark for 2016! This month, we are welcoming an intern – Elly Hanrahan, who is studying a Bachelor of Advanced Environmental Science and Global Challenges (Honours). Elly is already proving to be a strong member of our team and is doing great work helping out with campaigns.
In this issue: Mr Adani Visits Townsville – Townsville Port Expansion – Hinchinbrook Island National Park Management Plan – Queensland Environment Roundtable – Postcard Exhibition 2017 - and more!Read more
How will climate change affect Townsville’s water security?
This, the fourth post in our water security series, began as a response to the first of them, the Townsville Water Discussion Paper, and addresses an issue which none of the first three looked at. Parts 2 and 3 are here and here. This is a guest post by Malcolm Tattersall. Once again, views expressed are the author’s, not those of NQCC.
When I read Gail Hamilton’s post six weeks ago I agreed with nearly all of it but noticed a gap which was potentially important, i.e. the impact of climate change on our water security: the ‘Regional Water Supply Security Assessment’ from the Department of Water and Energy Supply (2014) (pdf here), upon which she relied for her ‘current situation’ section, didn’t consider climate change effects at all.
That seemed quite odd to me since we know that climate change is with us already on a global level – that most of the hottest years on record have occurred this century, that desertification is a key driver of conflicts in the Middle East, and that sea level rise is drowning low-lying islands and threatening major cities around the world. Some of us have also been feeling, on a much more local and personal level, that Townsville has been having weaker Wet seasons and hotter summers than ever before, and I happened to know, because I looked at it recently, that Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) data backs up our feelings.Read more