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Sunwater Staff Tour


Late last month, a dozen of our wonderful staff were treated to a personal tour of the Sunwater operations in the Burdekin region. Sunwater is a bulk water infrastructure developer and manager, playing a key role in Australia’s water industry, owning and managing around $10 billion in water infrastructure assets and supplying approximately 40% of all water used commercially in Queensland.

Sunwater operates 19 major dams, 63 weirs, 82 major pumping stations, 3100 km of pipelines and open channels and 740 km of drains.

In the early 1950s the Burdekin River Irrigation Area was established on 7500 hectares at Clare, Millaroo and Dalbeg, on the levee soils of the lower Burdekin floodplain. Water supplies for this limited area came from the Gorge Weir and Blue Valley Weir. In the 1970s this supply was supplemented from Eungella Dam on the Broken River behind Mackay.

In March 1980, the Queensland Parliament authorised the establishment of the Burdekin River Project – the largest land and water conservation scheme undertaken in Queensland. The project supplies water for the irrigation of new and existing farms in the lower Burdekin River region and supplements the urban and industrial needs of Townsville.

A highlight of the tour was a visit to the Tom Fenwick Pump Station where we were told that the output of the pumps at this facility could fill an Olympic sized pool in 72 seconds! We were also informed that it would take roughly only 2 seconds to fill a backyard pool.

Sunwater also owns and operates the water treatment plants of Clare, Millaroo and Dalbeg and staff were shown how the Clare facility operates. Another stop on the tour was one of the water balancing storage areas, affectionately referred to by Sunwater staff as “Little Kakadu”. It was easy to see why, as the local wildlife were thoroughly enjoying the large expanse of permanent water.

Thanks must go to Lee Findlay and the enthusiastic Sunwater staff, who not only showed us the extensive operations but also supplied us with refreshments at their Clare office whilst they answered our many questions.

Sunwater is eager to become involved with our school in any way possible and we look forward to the many opportunities this will provide for our students in the future.