Dam upgrade delivers local jobs, water security for CQ

A $170 million project is two-thirds complete at Emerald’s Fairbairn Dam, providing more than 100 jobs and ensuring a reliable, long-term water supply for the region.

Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the five-year project was upgrading the 47-year-old dam to the latest national engineering standards.

“This project is just part of our publicly-owned water authorities’ $75 million expenditure on dam improvements in 2019-20,” he said.

“Across the state, these projects are creating jobs and business opportunities for suppliers in regional communities.

“For example, more than 80 per cent of contractors and employees working on the Fairbairn Dam Improvement Project, managed by Sunwater, are from Central Queensland,” he said.

The Fairbairn Dam upgrade is addressing the condition of the original spillway drainage system and ground anchors that have deteriorated and are not functioning efficiently.

“The project will ensure the dam continues to function safely and is better able to withstand extreme weather events,” Dr Lynham said.

“More than $105 million has already been spent on the project, which is likely to be completed in late 2020, weather permitting.”

Construction teams this week finalised all sidewall foundations as part of an upgrade of the dam’s spillway.

“The completion of this work closes off a safety risk ahead of the 2020 wet season, as the dam’s foundations will no longer be exposed to wet weather,” Dr Lynham said.

With a capacity of 1,301,129 megalitres, Fairbairn Dam is just one of several large regional water projects Sunwater is currently undertaking.

In St George, essential construction repair work to ensure the safety and integrity of EJ Beardmore Dam has been completed.

Sunwater will soon seek expressions of interest for the joint State and Federal Government-funded Rookwood Weir project near Rockhampton, while also working on a detailed business case to raise Queensland’s largest dam, Burdekin Falls, outside of Townsville.

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