Statewide Water Policy Quarterly Project Progress Report February 2009 Project: Connors River Dam and Pipelines – Feasibility Project Proponent: SunWater Department of Infrastructure and Planning, Department of Natural Resources and Water, Isaac Regional Council, mining industry, Key Stakeholders: affected landholders, Native Title owners and claimants, community and potential future water users. The Dam will be located on the Connors River at Mt Bridget in the Isaac Regional Council Area, approximately 235km north west of Location: Rockhampton. Pipelines will connect the Connors River Dam with future users in the region. The Dam is likely to be a roller compacted concrete structure with a storage volume of approximately 373,700 megalitres. Preliminary Project Parameters: yield estimates indicate 56,400ML per annum of high reliability water. Investigations will establish corridor routes, pipe and other material quantities and associated infrastructure requirements. Project Scope SunWater will undertake all necessary studies and investigations for development of a business case for the Connors River Dam and associated pipelines. The works to be completed include geotechnical investigations, cultural heritage studies, preliminary design, yield assessments, environmental impact studies, regulatory approvals, land surveys and valuation, demand assessment and economic evaluation. Project Status Target Completion Date (feasibility) 2010 Possible Completion (construction) Dam: 2013 Pipelines: 2012 – 2013 (to be aligned with delivery of the Dam) • Connors River Dam was identified in the Central Queensland Regional Water Supply Strategy, released in December 2006, as a medium to long term option for supplying water to the Northern Bowen Basin coal mines and communities in close proximity to proposed pipeline routes. • To facilitate the feasibility studies, in July 2007 the Coordinator-General declared the project investigations as ‘works’ under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971. Subsequently, in December 2007, the Connors River Dam project was included in a ‘Program of Works’ under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971. This will help to ensure the timely achievement of project milestones within budget allocations. • On 7 March 2008 the Coordinator-General declared the Connors River Dam and Pipelines Projects to be a significant project for which an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required under section 26 of the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld). • The Coordinator-General has released the draft terms of reference for the Connors River Dam EIS for public consultation. Comments can be made from 31 January 2009 to 9 March 2009. • SunWater has progressed geotechnical investigations, environmental impact assessment, preliminary flood and yield hydrology studies and the concept design. • SunWater has also engaged with potential customers of the water from the Connors River Dam to assess demand and possible pipeline routes. A preferred western pipeline route was identified in December 2008. • SunWater commissioned a lead EIS consultant in August 2008. It is proposed to submit the EIS to the Coordinator-General in mid 2009. • On 25 September 2008 the Commonwealth Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), released its decision that the Project is a controlled action and will require assessment and approval by the Commonwealth under the Enivronment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth) Budget Estimated Cost to Complete $15.1 million Connors River Dam and pipelines – preliminary Business Case: estimate. Estimated Total Project Cost: $194.57 million for the Dam construction (concept estimate). Pipeline cost estimate will be developed as part of the feasibility investigations. Government Commitment: $56.5 million for the Dam (Statewide Water Policy) $60 million for pipelines (Statewide Water Policy) Budget 2008/09: The budget for this project is administered by SunWater. Budget and expenditure figures for this project will be contained in SunWater’s Annual Report for the 2008/09 financial year. Communications and Community Consultation Activities • Extensive public consultation was undertaken in the development of the Central Queensland Regional Water Supply Strategy. • Landowners, relevant Government agencies, local governments and native title representative bodies within the identified Investigation Area were consulted as part of the process to declare the Connors River Dam as ‘works’ under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971. • Representatives of SunWater, the Department of Natural Resources and Water and the Department of Infrastructure and Planning met with directly affected landowners on-site in August 2007. • SunWater has undertaken ongoing consultation and communication with landowners, native title representative bodies and project customers as part of the feasibility investigations. • The Initial Advice Statement and the draft terms of reference for this project has been made available on the Department of Infrastructure and Planning’s project web page. • SunWater’s first public newsletter regarding the Project and the required approvals process was released in December 2008 and distributed to Project stakeholders. A copy of the newsletter has been made available on SunWater’s website. • In conjunction with the Department of Infrastructure and Planning, SunWater has formed a Community Liaison Group (CLG) for the Project. The CLG represents a cross section of the local community including local government, land owners, mining and agriculture interests. The CLG held its first meeting in Nebo in December 2008. A copy of the first CLG meeting minutes have been made available on SunWater’s website.
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