Floodwaters rush over the Burdekin Falls Dam in February 2019. Picture: TRUDY BROWN
Floodwaters rush over the Burdekin Falls Dam in February 2019. Picture: TRUDY BROWN

Burdekin dam is ‘safe’ says QLD Government

THE State Government and its water authority Sunwater have denied an urgent need exists to upgrade the Burdekin Falls Dam for a potential risk of failure in a big storm event.

This is despite the dam's emergency management plan, dated September 2019, stating that

a comprehensive risk assessment in 2012 concluded that the "current individual and societal risks are unacceptable" and recommended a full upgrade be undertaken to reduce the inherent level of risk.

In a statement released today, Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said community safety was the Government's priority.

Dr Lynham said he had been advised by Sunwater that the Burdekin Dam complied with all current state and federal requirements for dam safety.

"The relevant standards are set by the state in conjunction with the Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD)," Dr Lynham said.

"I am advised by Sunwater that the risk assessment was updated this year and was overseen by an independent expert panel.

"I am further advised that this assessment found that the Burdekin Falls Dam currently complies with all current state and federal requirements for dam safety.

"But as I have said repeatedly - dams are lifelong assets and they aren't 'set and forget'.

They require ongoing monitoring and maintenance to ensure they meet modern safety standards."

Dr Lynham said improvement programs by Sunwater and Seqwater provided ongoing assessment and maintenance to ensure dams were "up-to-date and up-to-scratch".

Dr Lynham said a business case was under way into options for improvement works at Burdekin Falls Dam.

"This Government has committed $14.53 million for the planning works already under way for these improvement works."

Dr Lynham said another $16.5 million had been committed for the Burdekin Falls Dam raising feasibility studies.