The Fitzroy to Gladstone Pipeline, an almost $1 billion pipeline project that will deliver water security and about 30 gigalitres of water a year to Gladstone, has made significant progress since the project was announced in February 2023.

The Queensland Government announced the $983 million pipeline to address the single source water supply risk from Awoonga Dam, enabling long-term water security to Gladstone’s industry and support to ongoing economic development in the region.

The 117-kilometre pipeline will run from the Lower Fitzroy River in Rockhampton and connect to Gladstone Area Water Board’s (GAWB) existing water network at Yarwun.

The pipeline also comprises:

  • An intake structure at Laurel Bank to collect water from the Fitzroy Rive
  • A Water Treatment Plant, Pump Station and Reservoir at Alton Downs
  • Two reservoirs at Aldoga to store water before it connects to GAWB’s existing water network at Yarwun
  • A connection to the Mount Miller Pipeline

The Fitzroy to Gladstone Pipeline (FGP) will have the capacity to transport 30 gigalitres of water per annum from the Fitzroy River to Gladstone. The pipeline’s design enables efficient retrofitting with additional infrastructure should bi-directional flow be required in the future.

A joint venture comprised of McConnell Dowell and BMD Group (MBJV) has been contracted to construct the FGP, and once constructed, the pipeline and its associated infrastructure will continue to be owned and managed by the GAWB.

Benefits of the FGP to the community include:

  • Water security and reliability
  • Continuous operation of Gladstone’s industry
  • Contribution to the growth of the Queensland economy
  • More than 400 jobs at the peak of construction
  • More than 40 per cent of construction costs to be spent locally throughout project delivery
  • More than 500 hours of training to the delivery team
  • More than 25 apprenticeships and traineeships over the duration
    of construction
  • Target spend of $10 million with suppliers and businesses owned by First Nations Australians

Queensland Minister for Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water Glenn Butcher said the FGP was part of Queensland’s Big Build, the biggest decade of infrastructure delivery in Queensland’s history, with the government delivering infrastructure needed to support a growing Queensland.

“Right now, industry in Gladstone generates $6 billion in gross regional product every year and these activities depend on significant quantities of water now and into the future,” Minister Butcher said.

“This pipeline will allow Gladstone to access their water allocation from the Fitzroy River, which we know means security in good jobs and the delivery of safe and reliable water services to enhance the liveability of our region.

“We are already seeing the lasting positive legacy that the Fitzroy to Gladstone Pipeline will have on our region as a result of the Miles Government’s commitment to supporting local content and workforce.

“To date, the pipeline has engaged with more than 111 local businesses across Rockhampton and Gladstone, with local spend totalling $71.6 million.

“As of the end of March 2024, $97.3 million has been spent within Queensland.”

The FGP team is also committed to upskilling the next generation of workers and currently has 18 trainees working on the project.

GAWB Chief Executive Officer, Darren Barlow, said the Queensland Government’s decision to approve the pipeline for construction reflected the region’s importance to the state’s economy.

“The announcement was pivotal in securing water for Gladstone’s industry as well as helping sustain the Queensland economy and provide jobs, and I thank the Queensland Government for their decision,” Mr Barlow said.

“Water security has been an ongoing, critical issue for Gladstone due to the single-source water supply from Awoonga Dam.

“Four successive failed wet seasons resulted in a Low Supply Alert Declaration being issued in April 2021, which is declared before stricter supply restrictions are needed.

“From GAWB’s perspective, it’s been fantastic to see the MBJV engaging with local suppliers to deliver tangible benefits to the Central Queensland region such as jobs, supply contracts and local capability raising.”

The FGP team achieved a major milestone on 17 October 2023, with then Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Manufacturing, Regional Development and Water, Glenn Butcher, turning the first sod on site in Aldoga, signifying the beginning of major construction.

The sod-turning event followed the first pipes arrival from Steel Mains to the MBJV laydown site in Gracemere in June 2023, and the laying of first pipes through Wetland Protection Areas near Rockhampton in September 2023.

As of the end of March 2024, a total of 44 kilometres of pipe has been laid, making up more than 34 per cent of the 117 kilometres of pipe required for the FGP. This includes two of the seven Wetland Protection Areas (WPAs) within the pipeline corridor. The remaining five WPAs will be completed during the May to September dry season.

Pipe laying through the northern boundary of the Stanwell to Gladstone Infrastructure Corridor State Development Area commenced in early November 2023. The team has been engaged in preparative works for pipe-laying in the southern pipeline corridor since mid-2023, undertaking geotechnical investigations and cultural heritage clearances. Pipe laying works commenced south of Gracemere in January 2024.

The Trencor T1660 Magnum Mechanical Drive Chain Trencher, which will be used to excavate the pipeline trench at the Gladstone-end of the pipeline corridor, was recently assembled in anticipation of the works, following its arrival to the Port of Gladstone in November 2023.

The Trencor T1660, weighing approximately 140 tonnes, is the largest trencher in Australia and was specifically sourced for the FGP due to its ability to excavate pipeline trenches in hard rock up to 1.8 metres wide and 5 metres deep.

Recently, the FGP team celebrated the start of construction at the Aldoga Reservoirs site, following several months of preparative works.

The Aldoga Reservoirs, located at the southern end of the pipeline corridor, are vital infrastructure that will hold up to 100 megalitres of water, across two reservoirs, before it is gravity fed to GAWB’s existing water network at Yarwun.

“It is fantastic to see the progress at the Aldoga Reservoirs site, which has included the removal of more than 65,700 cubic metres of earth,” Mr Barlow said.

“Each reservoir is approximately 78 metres wide, which is more than the width of a rugby field, so it has certainly been a massive job for the team.

“Construction is progressing at each of our supporting infrastructure sites, including the Alton Downs Water Treatment Plant and the Intake facility at Laurel Bank.”

Other recent construction milestones include the finalisation of all major road works on Laurel Bank and Ski Gardens Road, completion of two trenchless crossings at the Bruce Highway and Capricorn Highway and construction of the temporary workers accommodation camp in Gracemere.

The Gracemere accommodation camp, which was completed in early January 2024, can house up to 104 people and includes a reception, office, kitchen and dining, amenities, gym, laundry, locker room, linen store, storage, communications room, and medical room.

The site in Gracemere also includes a pipe laydown yard, a washdown area and a vehicle workshop.

“While we are targeting 60 per cent of our construction workers to be from within the local area, the temporary workers’ accommodation camp is housing workers from outside the region,” Mr Barlow said.

“We are aware of the high level of pressure on Rockhampton’s rental market and we have been careful to avoid adding any additional pressure. Workers at the Gladstone end of the pipeline are housed at the Homeground accommodation camp in Calliope.”

Once construction of the pipeline is complete, the site will be deconstructed and returned to pre-existing condition.

“It has been an incredibly busy yet rewarding year for both Gladstone Area Water Board and the McConnell Dowell BMD Joint Venture. We’ve made solid progress and I’m really proud,” Mr Barlow said.

The FGP is expected to be operational in 2026, weather and site conditions permitting. Once constructed, the FGP and associated infrastructure will be owned and managed by Gladstone Area Water Board.

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