SunWater has been given environmental approval by Queensland Coordinator-General Keith Davies to develop the $1.2 billion Connors River Dam and Pipeline project, which would feed the Bowen Basin coal industry and develop new water storage to increase the region's water supply.


The proposed Connors River Dam and Pipelines Project was identified in the 2006 Central Queensland Regional Water Supply Strategy (CQRWSS) as the preferred medium to long-term water supply solution to meet future water demands in and around the Bowen Basin region.


Water from the proposed dam will supply primarily the Bowen Basin and surrounding areas as well as potentially supplying communities within close proximity to the proposed pipeline route.


The proposed dam is located on the Connors River, near Mount Bridget, approximately 110 kilometres due east of Moranbah and 70km south of Sarina.


Several storage capacities were investigated through the Environmental Impact Statement development process, with an ultimate storage size of 373,662 ML being proposed for approval.


SunWater has selected Thiess Barnard Joint Venture as the preferred construction tenderer for the dam. The Thiess Barnard Joint Venture was selected through an Early Tenderer Involvement (ETI) process and will now work alongside SunWater to finalise design and approval for the dam.


A proposed pipeline from the dam – around 133kms long – will deliver water to a smaller holding storage, near Moranbah, where it will then be distributed to customers. The proposed pipeline route, as well as infrastructure associated with the pipeline (pump stations, buffer storages, etc) has been presented in considerable detail in the Environmental Impact Statement for the project.


As a result of the approval SunWater can now seek further government approvals to clear native vegetation and waterway barriers.  Mr Davies said the project can proceed with conditions that include the restoration and protection of more than 16,000 hectares of vegetation. There also needs to be a conservation plan to protect threatened freshwater turtles.