Design and construction partners selected for new Paradise Dam wall replacement project

Paradise Dam

paradise dam, qld, water infrastructure,


Sunwater has appointed GHD as the design partner, and CPB Contractors and Georgiou as construction partners for the new Paradise Dam wall replacement project in QLD.

Sunwater will begin planning to build an entirely new wall at Paradise Dam following expert recommendations that the existing wall cannot be repaired or reinforced. This infrastructure project will provide the region with a long-term water security and storage solution.

Paradise Dam is approximately 20km north-west of Biggenden and 80km south-west of Bundaberg on the Burnett River. It is a key component of the Bundaberg water supply scheme.

Damage to the dam during the 2011 and 2013 floods was more significant than expected. The dam had a number of structural issues that need to be addressed.

During 2020 and early 2021 Sunwater lowered the dam and completed essential works to improve the safety of the dam for people living downstream.

Since late-2021, Sunwater has been working to safely return the dam to its original height.

As part of this project, further concerns about long-term strength and quality of the dam’s concrete have been revealed, that mean repairing the dam is not feasible.

While the existing dam is safer now at the current lower supply level, thanks to the Essential Works project undertaken by Sunwater, it is clear that the existing dam wall has too many issues to be repaired.

Sunwater’s recommendation to the Government is that the dam wall should be wholly replaced. In the meantime, the dam will remain at the current lower supply level.

The Government has accepted Sunwater’s recommendation to build a new dam wall, just downstream of the existing structure.

Importantly, a new dam wall will meet stringent safety criteria and will ensure the Bundaberg region receives a lifelong asset that will reliably serve the community for at least 100 years, underpinning jobs and growth for the region for generations.

A business case for the new dam wall has now commenced and new environmental approvals will be sought. Timelines and costings will be confirmed following completion of the business case and approvals.

Sunwater has formed an alliance to deliver the new dam wall project – appointing CPB Contractors / Georgiou as the construction partner and GHD as the ongoing design partner.

“We have extensive experience delivering essential infrastructure in regional Australia, and we’re pleased to support this next stage of works that benefits Queensland communities,” says CIMIC Group Executive Chairman Juan Santamaria.

“CPB Contractors has delivered more than 150 water, dam and reservoir projects across Australia,” says CIMIC Group Executive Chairman Juan Santamaria.

CPB Contractors Managing Director Jason Spears said: “Having successfully delivered the Paradise Dam Essential Works, our expert teams understand the complexities of this critical regional project and we’re looking forward to expanding our local team,” says CIMIC Group Executive Chairman Juan Santamaria.

“This important project is an opportunity for CPB Contractors, as part of the Alliance, to work with our local delivery partners so that we’re building a skills legacy that meets future demand,” says CIMIC Group Executive Chairman Juan Santamaria.

CPB Contractors’ world-class technical expertise combined with decades of dam design and construction experience will ensure the project’s objectives and stringent safety criteria are achieved,” says CIMIC Group Executive Chairman Juan Santamaria.

This will ensure design and construction challenges are considered and addressed early, and options to reduce costs are identified through efficiencies and prudent planning.

Paradise Dam Project Detailed Business Case

The Government has also asked Sunwater to undertake a detailed business case to expand the irrigation network to allow future expansion of the Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme and address capacity constraints in accessing dam supply. This was a key recommendation out of the draft Bundaberg Burnett Regional Water Assessment.

Sunwater is progressing a detailed business case for a replacement dam wall on the Burnett River to ensure a safe and secure water supply for the Bundaberg region for future generations.

Sunwater has been progressing the Paradise Dam Improvement Project Detailed Business Case (Stage 2) since December 2021, when the Queensland Government confirmed that the dam would be returned to its full height and original capacity.

As part of the detailed business case, Sunwater has been undertaking intensive testing program to inform design development. Through this testing, three unexpected new issues regarding the long-term strength and quality of the dam’s concrete were identified and investigated further.

The new issues identified are unprecedented – dams are usually not tested for long-term strength loss, and as Paradise Dam was only constructed 18 years ago, it should not be experiencing issues of this degree.

Because of this, we, along with our partners and independent experts were required to develop a bespoke and world-first testing program. Results from the testing program show that Paradise Dam was built with a far higher percentage of clay than the vast majority of other roller-compacted concrete dams in the world.

The new dam wall will be immediately downstream of the existing structure and will meet all safety and regulatory requirements.

Click here to learn more about the issues and the next steps with the Paradise Dam.

Source (1): © The State of Queensland 1997–2024

Source (2): © The State of Queensland 2024

Source (3): © Medianet 2024 All rights reserved.

Source (4): Queensland Government & Sunwater

Image Source: © Medianet 2024 All rights reserved. | Queensland Government & Sunwater

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