The Queensland Government has given the green light for a proposal to raise Burdekin Falls Dam wall to progress to the next stage.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said publicly-owned Sunwater would now start a $16 million detailed business case into the potential raising of Queensland’s largest dam.

“This is not only boosting the Townsville region’s water security,” the Premier said. “It’s part of our Powering North Queensland Plan. Upgrading the Burdekin Falls Dam is the next step in developing the Burdekin Hydro power project which is expected to create 200 jobs during construction and generate enough electricity to power 30 000 homes.”

The Premier said the project could also help boost to water security measures in the region.

“The Burdekin Falls dam is the at the heart of one of Queensland’s largest agricultural hubs and the extra water for irrigation could support another 10,000 hectares of production,” the Premier said. “Investigations to date show enough interest from farmers and industry in more water, as well as future urban demand in Townsville. Any major investment like this needs to have a detailed business case to back it up and that’s precisely the action we’re taking.”

The proposal is to raise the spillway crest of the dam to increase capacity. The detailed business case will include analysis of the environmental, economic, financial, and sustainability factors and an environmental impact statement.

The detailed business case will investigate the most viable height by which to raise the dam, but as an example, raising the dam by two meters would increase the storage capacity by approximately 150,000 megalitres – bringing the total capacity to 2.01 million megalitres.

Sunwater, the government-owned corporation that owns and operates the dam, would work with Building Queensland to investigate the costs and engineering options for raising the Burdekin Falls Dam wall.