Nullinga Dam and other options


Prospective pipeline

Credibly proposed


Under procurement

Preferred bidder announced

Recently closed
Nullinga Dam and other options

Prospective pipeline

Greenfield (construction) or brownfield (government asset divestment) projects needed or likely to occur within the next five years, but is not formally proposed by a state, territory or major local government.

Credibly proposed

The project or divestment is supported by a state, territory or major local government, is subject to studies or other processes (such as pre-feasibility or scoping studies or business case development), and is likely to proceed to formal announcement.   


The project has a firm commitment and timeline from a state, territory or major local government, but has not yet entered the market.

Under procurement

The project or transaction is under procurement (such as a call for Expressions of Interest, requests for tender, or another offer to the market).

Preferred bidder announced

A preferred bidder has been selected and is in exclusive negotiations.

Recently closed

Projects that have progressed to contractual close remain on ANZIP for 12 months.

ANZIP is focused only on major infrastructure activity, above the following thresholds:


Construction projects: > AUD$300m

Investable greenfield & brownfield: > AUD$100m

New Zealand

All greenfield and brownfield projects and divestments: > NZD $100 million

STATUS: Prospective pipeline
SECTOR: Water & sewerage
PROCUREMENT APPROACH: Traditional procurement
TYPE: Greenfield

Building Queensland is currently investigating the options to meet future urban water demand in the Cairns area and supplement irrigation water supply in the region. It identified current limitations in the water supply for agricultural use in the Mareeba Dimbulah irrigation area and potential population growth from the proposed Aquis Resort development as initial drivers for the study. 

The Queensland Government received $5 million from the Commonwealth Government's National Water Infrastructure Development Fund to undertake a feasibility study on the proposed Nullinga Dam.

Building Queensland’s Preliminary Business Case was completed in 2017 and considered the potential for the construction of a new dam – Nullinga Dam – as a potential solution to augment the water supply for agricultural use.

It analysed three other shortlisted options including:
- continuation of water trading and on-farm efficiency measures (base case);
- improve bulk storage rules and operation; and
- modernising existing distribution infrastructure to reduce system losses.

The proposed site of Nullinga Dam is located on the Walsh River, within the Mareeba Shire Council and Barron Water Resource Plan areas in Far North Queensland. Its assumed yield is 55,400ML per year and be primarily for medium priority allocations to all customers and in particular agricultural users. The Nullinga Dam option is proposed to supply Walsh River users within and potentially downstream of the Mareeba-Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme area, with flexibility for commercial distribution systems to evolve.

The preliminary business case highlighted that a Design and Build contract would be the preferred procurement approach for Nullinga Dam. The estimated capital cost is $323 million with annual operating costs of $3.6 million.

The preliminary business case recommended that the Nullinga Dam option be progressed to a detailed business case once there was a satisfactory level of certainty about the demand for new water allocations at a nominated volume and nominated price. Industry participants subsequently provided evidence of sufficient potential demand, and as such a detailed business case is now underway for the Nullinga Dam option.

The detailed business case will further investigate the construction of Nullinga Dam and improvements to the existing water supply scheme. In July 2018, Building Queensland issued a request for information regarding potential water requirements from the proposed Nullinga Dam. This information will be used to underpin the detailed business case's assessment of demand profiles for the Dam.

Last reviewed: 20/07/2018

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