Broken River, at the site of the proposed Urannah Dam wall.
Broken River, at the site of the proposed Urannah Dam wall.

Bowen Basin water supply a ‘nationally significant’ priority

Productive water supply for the Bowen Basin has been included in a list of nationally significant projects as part of Infrastructure Australia's priority list.

The report stated there was opportunity to develop industry and agriculture in the Bowen Basin and surrounding regions over a five to 10-year time frame.

"A constrained water supply is limiting the growth of agricultural, industrial and mining productivity in and adjacent to the Bowen Basin," it said.

"Increasing the water supply can unlock additional agricultural land and facilitate a more robust water trading market with potential flow-on price reductions for mining and industrial water users.

"There is also an integrated opportunity to explore pumped hydro storage within the local renewable energy zones and increase resilience for the Whitsunday region's urban water supply."

The report said a new pipeline, weir or dam infrastructure was a potential option to address the problem if there was sufficient demand.

Bowen River Utilities managing director John Cotter said Urannah Dam, along with a new pipeline to Moranbah, would deliver the water infrastructure needs identified in the priority list.

"The projects being driven by the BRU team will deliver the necessary water security for the region while also future proofing the water supply for surrounding areas," Mr Cotter said.

"Co-located with the Urannah Dam will be the Bowen Renewable Energy Hub with a generation capacity of 1.4GW and eight hours of storage.

"Combine water security with access to affordable and reliable energy, and the opportunities for economic growth and prosperity are endless."

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Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said she was backing the Urannah Dam project to open up the region to secure water supply.

"The Federal Government is supporting the Urannah Dam, with $10 million in funding towards the project's feasibility study through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund," Ms Landry said.

"The Queensland Government pledged to support the Urannah Dam project during the last state election, but they continue to remain silent on water."

Last month, Bowen River Utilities submitted an application to the Queensland Government for the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

The application is expected to be forwarded to the Federal Government for consideration.

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