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