'Unlock the North' Road Trip - Big Rocks Weir

This week we took our ‘Unlock the North’ Road Trip series to Charters Towers to visit the proposed site of the Big Rocks Weir.

Big Rocks Weir is located 26km north-west of Charters Towers and upon completion would be capable of storing at least 10,000 ML of water - double that of Charters Towers' existing water infrastructure. Big Rocks Weir will open up at least 3,000 ha of new irrigated agriculture for the region by providing a guaranteed water supply. Importantly, the Weir will also provide water for new manufacturing and industrial development that will help to meet future urban water demands for the people of Charters Towers and surrounding regions. 
As project managers, Townsville Enterprise will submit the final business case this week but the following benefits have already been identified:

  • Approximately 133 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions directly supported during the construction peak in 2022;
  • At full production, an additional $35 million per annum in additional agricultural revenue, and 115 FTE jobs each year will be directly supported by the additional agricultural production associated with Big Rocks Weir (assuming a 10,000 ML water entitlement is granted by the Queensland Government; these numbers could be larger if a greater volume of water is granted);
  • Greatly improved reliability of water supply for urban and industrial users including potential to support expansion activities for industrial users or new industry in Charters Towers;
  • Additional economic activity and employment opportunities associated with the operations of Big Rocks Weir and use of the additional water supplied by the Weir; and,
  • A strongly positive benefit/cost ratio, based on realistic economic analyses.

The project will cost approx $60M to build, with $30M already committed from the Federal Government. $30M of matched funding is required from the State Government. 

Message from Mayor of Charters Towers, Cr Frank Beveridge

This is a project that has been spoken about in the North for nearly five decades. We are closer to realising it than ever before. This project will not only provide water security for the people of Charters Towers but agricultural opportunities for farmers that have been waiting for a permanent water supply to expand their current crops or grow new ones. More agriculture means more jobs and this is critical as we begin our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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