In response to expert recommendations that the Paradise Dam’s existing wall cannot be repaired to a high enough standard, Sunwater will soon begin planning the construction of a new and improved wall. 

While the existing dam is safer now at the current lower supply level, thanks to the Essential Works project undertaken by Sunwater, the existing dam wall has too many issues to be repaired.

Sunwater’s recommendation to government is that the dam wall should be wholly replaced. In the meantime, the dam will remain at the current lower supply level.

The Queensland Government has said that it remains committed to restoring the full water supply.

A new dam wall will meet stringent safety criteria and will ensure the Bundaberg region receives a lifelong asset that will reliably serve the community for at least 100 years, underpinning jobs and growth for the region for generations.

A business case for the new dam wall has now commenced and new environmental approvals will be sought. Timelines and costings will be confirmed following completion of the business case and approvals.

Sunwater has formed an alliance to deliver the new dam wall project – appointing CPB Contractors/Georgiou as construction partner and GHD as the ongoing design partner.

This will ensure that design and construction challenges are considered and addressed early, and options to reduce costs are identified through efficiencies and prudent planning.

The Queensland Government has also asked Sunwater to undertake a detailed business case to expand the irrigation network to allow future expansion of the Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme and address capacity constraints in accessing dam supply. This was a key recommendation out of the draft Bundaberg Burnett Regional Water Assessment.

Queensland Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher, said that this is a significant milestone in the effort to restore Paradise Dam to its original capacity. 

“It is a win for the Bundaberg region and will be a major benefit for agricultural producers. A new wall will ensure the dam is a lifelong asset and will deliver for an even longer term than promised by the repair,” Mr Butcher said. 

“The Queensland Government will always listen to the experts and the expert advice tells us we cannot repair the existing dam wall.

“Reliable water supply is critical to jobs, growth and liveability in regional Queensland. That is why we remain committed to restoring the full water supply for the people and industries of the region.

“We are not going to lose a minute, with Sunwater appointing its construction partner and early works at the site continuing full steam ahead to ensure the new dam wall can proceed as quickly as possible, once all approvals have been obtained.”

Member for Bundaberg, Tom Smith, said that the State Government is drawing a line in the sand, making sure that it delivers on its commitment to restore the water supply in full, while eliminating any doubt for safety and water security of Bundaberg.

“My commitment has always been to restore the water supply and to keep people safe. Today, I join Minister Butcher in keeping that commitment to the whole of the region,” Mr Smith said. 

“The evidence is clear, but so is the way forward. A new wall across the Burnett River will deliver a new strength for the agricultural and horticultural productivity of this region.”

Sunwater CEO, Glenn Stockton, said that Paradise Dam’s safety was ensured following the lowering of its wall, ensuring safe operation for many years to come.

“However, the concrete quality of the dam means it cannot be repaired to last the many decades we expect from these assets,” Mr Stockton said. 

“No one is more committed to providing water security for the Bundaberg region than Sunwater.”

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