Hells Gates Dam

Hells Gates Dam

The Hells Gates Dam project will include construction of a 2,100-gigalitre dam in the Upper Burdekin catchment, 120 kilometres north-west of Townsville in north Queensland. The project will also include the construction of three downstream irrigation weirs, linked to agricultral zones. 

A 2018 feasability study defined the scope as: 

  • construction of a 2,100-gigalitre dam with a reduced level height of 395-metres and a 100-metre wide spillway
  • construction of three weirs: northern, central and southern
  • a 1200-megawatt (MW) pumped hydroelectric project
  • a 20-MW solar farm and 15-MW run-of-river hydro facility at dam toe
  • development of the Burdekin Zone – up to 5,000 hectares of annual crops, with potential for additional perennial cropping, if connection to Big Rocks Weir is secured, and
  • staged infrastructure development to support 50,000 hectares of irrigated agricultural land across the northern, central, and southern zones.

The feasibility study stated that the project would be delivered in stages as part of the Hells Gates Irrigation Scheme. The study proposes the scheme be delivered in the following order:

  • Burdekin Zone annual crops
  • Big Rocks Weir perennial crops
  • Hells Gates Dam and the North zone, and
  • South and Middle zone.

Key Dates

Mar 2022 Project Announcement
2035 Expected Construction Completion

Funding contributions

Federal Government

The Federal Government funding was to be provided over 12 years from FY2022-23. The funding was to be contingent on 'completion' of a business case, expected mid-2022, but not on the findings in that business case.


Sep 2018 A feasibility study, conducted by member organisation Townsville Enterprise Limited was completed. The study found that when a seven per cent discount rate was applied and under a perennial cropping scenario, where two of the three proposed agricultural zones were utilised, the project would have a benefit cost ratio of 1.33.
Mar 2022 The Federal Government committed ahead of the 2022-23 Federal Budget to fully fund the $5.4 billion project over 12 years through the National Water Grid Fund.
Estimated Total Cost
Water & Sewerage
Procurement approach
Unconfirmed |
Queensland |
Media releases