A key study has revealed that the construction of the Hells Gate Dam in North Queensland is viable.
The SMEC-led study into the feasibility of the $5.35 billion irrigated agricultural and power project on the upper Burdekin River found the Hells Gates Dam Irrigation Scheme a project with the potential to redefine Northern Queensland’s agriculture sector and underpin long term export market growth and investment.
Charters Towers Regional Council Mayor, Cr Liz Schmidt says the project has her support and she believes it has community support as well.
“Water security, especially for agriculture, will be a major issue into the future. Phase One of the Hells Gates project would see the realisation of our community’s single most important infrastructure project – Big Rocks Weir.”
“The establishment of a vibrant agriculture industry associated with the realisation of the Hells Gates Dam project and the development of Big Rocks Weir will have a direct and enduring positive impact upon the economy of Charters Towers and North Queensland.”
“Big Rocks Weir would not only provide the Charters Towers community with a long-term water security solution but would also act as a first phase pilot project supportive of fast tracking the development of up to 5,000 hectares of arable land adjacent to the Hells Gates project’s most southern weir.”
“Phase One including the Big Rocks Weir, is exactly the type of project we need to help secure our economic future.”
The 12-month study found that the construction of a large dam on the upper Burdekin at the Hells Gates site was technically and economically feasible, with no major environmental barriers found as part of the Feasibility Study.
The feasibility study recommends that a Business Case including a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement be undertaken.