Dam upgrade investment decision reassessed for value

19 February 2021

A project to upgrade Lake Macdonald Dam in Noosa, Queensland, Australia will be reassessed to ensure prudency while also meeting dam safety, water security, environmental and community objectives, Seqwater has announced.

The utility’s Chief Executive Officer Neil Brennan said information emerged during procurement stage late last year that project costs would be significantly higher than the approved $127 million budget. The information was based on the detailed design which was completed late 2019.

“We have made the decision to reassess the project investment during the first half of this year,” he said. “The ongoing safety of Lake Macdonald Dam and water security for South East Queensland are key priorities for Seqwater but we must also make sure the project investment is prudent. Importantly Lake Macdonald continues to operate safely.’’

As a result of this assessment, the lowering of the lake will now not proceed in 2021 given strict environmental approval conditions that contain the de-watering between March and August so as to avoid the wet season and aquatic breeding.

Brennan said the upgrade of Noosa’s Lake Macdonald Dam was a high priority project under Seqwater’s Dam Improvement Program.

“We recognise this project has had a long planning phase but it is important Seqwater takes a prudent approach to the project’s design and construction.

“While it may be a small dam the upgrade is complex with a range of requirements to consider so we achieve positive safety, operational, cost, environmental, and community outcomes.”

Lake Macdonald Dam is located in the Noosa hinterland near Cooroy and is part of South East Queensland’s drinking water supply through the SEQ Water Grid.

The dam was built in 1965 and raised in 1980 to increase its storage capacity to 8018 megalitres. The dam is currently at 103.9% capacity.

As part of Seqwater’s Dam Improvement Program, upgrades have already been completed on Wappa and Cooloolabin Dams on the Sunshine Coast, with upgrades also well underway at Ewen Maddock Dam.

The Noosa’s Lake Macdonald Dam Upgrade project will be reassessed to ensure prudency while also meeting dam safety, water security, environmental and community objectives

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