News from Townsville Enterprise

August 7th, 2017

Hells Gates Dam Feasibility Study Community Forum

Charters Towers Regional Council and Townsville Enterprise are inviting the public to have their say on the Hells Gates Dam feasibility study.

The study is examining the feasibility of constructing a dam 120 kilometres north of Charters Towers and north west of Townsville to support large-scale irrigated agriculture on the upper Burdekin River and to secure a long-term water supply for Townsville.

A community information session is being held at the Charters Towers Golf Club on Wednesday 16 August, beginning at 10am.

“The feasibility study is the most comprehensive ever undertaken into the Hells Gates Dam concept and we’re keen to hear what locals think about the opportunity,” said Michael McMillan, Townsville Enterprise Director- Policy & Investment.

“We want to bring the community on board to fully understand the study objectives and the processes and have their say on the development”.

Charters Towers Mayor Cr Liz Schmidt said council staff are sharing their local knowledge and skills in support of the feasibility study.

“Hells Gates Dam is potentially a hugely significant project, securing water to supply what could be one of the largest irrigated agricultural developments in northern Australia,” said Cr Schmidt.

“Provided the numbers stack up, it’s an incredibly exciting opportunity for Charters Towers and North Queensland to grow and diversify our economies, creating new and sustainable industry and job opportunities”.

“I encourage anyone with an interest in the Hells Gates Dam project to get along to the information session to learn more about the study process, and gain a better understanding of the potential scale of the undertaking”.

A consortium of North Queensland businesses, led by international engineering and development consultants, SMEC, has begun a range of detailed investigations.

“After reviewing historical data on the dam concept, the expert study group is now commencing the next phase of the project,” said Mr McMillan.

“Study group members are working closely with Charters Towers Regional Council and local graziers and farmers to analyse soils, conduct field observations, and examine the upper Burdekin’s hydrology and surrounding geology”.

“Detailed agricultural market assessments are also underway, together with reviews of Indigenous land and cultural interests, and opportunities for hydro-electricity generation”.

The $2.2 million study is funded under the Federal Government’s National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and is being project managed by Townsville Enterprise.

The feasibility study is due to be completed in early 2018.

Further information about the Hells Gates feasibility study can be found on the Townsville Enterprise website here.

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