THE proposed Bowen Water Pipeline, which will carry water from the Burdekin River through to Bowen and to farming properties in between, continues to advance, with a meeting held in Home Hill in November to provide updated information to local residents on progress including the changed route, which has taken the first pump station 16 kilometres up river and notifying residents that the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water (DRDMW) on 28 October 2022, approved the Project to proceed to Phase 2 of the Grant funding, to produce a detailed business case.
The Round 1 Water Demand Assessment and other reporting enabled the Bowen Pipeline Company (BPC) to validate the project’s pre-feasibility to Government.
The Phase 1 project investigations confirmed – The regional need for the additional water to unlock economic potential and build resilience; the strong water demand within the region (risk adjusted based on feedback form 51 participants) 60,000ML (240 days), 80,000 ML (365 days); a viable engineering design at an affordable cost; and durable economic benefits for the region.
Phase two of the project involves the completion of a Class 2 preliminary engineering design and obtaining environmental and planning approvals with the Commonwealth and State.
The Round 2 Water Demand Assessment process (non- binding) started on November 22, 2022, with locations for presentations including Bowen and Gumlu, as well as Home Hill.
The estimated cost of construction is $400 million for a trunk length of some 120 km and over $100 million will be spent in the Burdekin Shire. The Project will allow the creation of some 3000 full time equivalent jobs (KPMG report).
The map shows the Updated Concept Alignment Map, starting at Barry Road and heading south-east (landholder negotiations are underway and the alignment may change). The project construction start date target remains in September 2024.
The Office of the Co-ordinator- General (OCG) has advised that the Bowen Pipeline Company were to notify the Whitsun- day Regional Council and the Burdekin Shire Council of the Project and request letters of in- principal support before they lodged their application with the Office of the Co-ordinator- General .
Whitsunday Regional Council immediately provided the “letter of in-principal support for the Project” dated October 5, 2022. Mr Brown said that “As to where we are at with the Burdekin Shire Council, we are in discussions clarifying the current status of the project and the process for approvals and look forward to up- dating the Shire early in the new year”.
The Bowen Pipeline Company has a new Chairman of the Steering Committee, Mike Hollett, who was previously the Chair and a Director of the Western Australia Water Corporation.
Mr Hollett has had a diversified career, which spans different sectors consistently having a strategic and operational role in the water industry across both the public and the private sectors. A letter from the Minister for Water in Western Australia in late 2019 recommended his nomination to the Advisory Panel of the National Water Grid Authority, which provided the Bowen Pipeline Company with the Commonwealth Grant and potentially 50 per cent of the construction and water allocation costs.