Proposed Urannah Dam

Proposed Dam

Urannah Dam is a proposed project in Central Queensland, backed by the Federal LNP Government. The water from the dam would be used for current coal mining in the region, and the expansion of new coal mining, as well as agriculture.

A report assessing the cost benefits of the dam project found that for every dollar spent on the dam, only 75 cents would be returned.

Project Proponents

Bowen River Utilities is the current project proponent. The project has received Federal backing and funding for feasibility studies and business case development.

There have been allegations of corruption around Federal funding for this project being awarded to prominent LNP members and donors.

Coal and water use

Over one third of the water supply from the proposed Urannah dam is earmarked for the coal mining industry in the Bowen region, including expansion of existing mines, development of new coal mines, and washing coal at Adani’s Abbot Point.

Urannah has also been linked to the expansion of coal in the Galilee Basin.

Urannah Map

The Proposed Urannah Dam project

The Urannah Dam project is proposed to be built in the prisitine Urannah valley, which is located in Central Queensland in the Bowen Basin.

The dam was first proposed in the 1960s. Since then, there have been over 25 feasibility studies into the dam, but the project had not proceeded beyond that stage. (1)

The current proposal is for 1.5 million megalitre dam that would cost $2.9 billion to build. It includes a water pipeline network, an irrigated precinct, and pumped hyro-electricity storage and power generation infrastructure. The dam would provide water to mining in the region, particularly expanding coal mining in the Bowen Basin which has been constrained by a lack of water. (2) (3)

A report assessing the cost benefits of the dam project found that for every dollar spent on the dam, only 75 cents would be returned. (4)

The current project proponent is the Bowen River Utilities. (5)

The project has been pushed by the LNP, with prominent supporters including Barnaby Joyce, Queensland LNP leader Deb Finklington, George Christiansen and Matt Canavan. In December 2019, the Government gave $10 million in funding for a business case and Environmental Impact Statement to be developed. This is in addition to $3m given in 2016 for a project feasibility study. (6) There has been allegations of corruption linked to this funding.

In May 2020, the project was declared a coordinated project by Queensland’s Coordinator-General. (7)
The Business Case and impact assessments are expected to be completed by 2021, and construction planned for 2022.


The proposed dam wall would be built between the two mountains on the right to flood the valley (plus more) in the foreground. Broken river is in the foreground. Photo by Ian Sutton.**

Photo showing part of the valley that would be flooded with the proposed dam. This image is facing the opposite direction to the image above. By Jeff Tan




We need your help

to protect our river, our environment and our culture

"We are the River People our river is sacred it is our life it gives us the connection to our land and the beginning of creation.

It is our duty to protect our BIRI (river) against the rapid demand of water supplies to the Mining Industry in the Bowen Basin. Urannah Creek and Broken River are the last wild rivers in this country and the biodiversity and the environment is untouched.” Descendant Wiri and Birri people.

We will be launching our campaign soon to build the people power to stop this dam.

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