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Paradise lost: Queensland dam must be rebuilt as experts say repairs too risky

Statewide

A troubled $1.2 billion Queensland dam will be rebuilt after experts discovered its wall could not be repaired.

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The wall at Paradise Dam north of Brisbane was assessed after it was lowered almost six metres in 2020 due to safety concerns.

There had been fears the dam could collapse after it was so badly damaged during ex-tropical cyclone Oswald in 2013 that the water level had to be lowered 5.8m to prevent a disaster.

Work on restoring the dam wall began last year, with the state and federal governments each committing $600 million in funding.

However operator Sunwater on Thusday said the dam wall had too many issues, with planning to start soon on the construction of a new one.

Sunwater said the dam’s current operations are safe due to its lower supply level.

Paradise Dam was built in 2005 on the Burnett River and has a storage capacity of 170,000 megalitres.

It currently sits at 98.98 per cent capacity.

A new dam wall is expected to meet stringent safety criteria and ensure service to the Bundaberg region for at least 100 years.

“Paradise Dam’s safety was ensured following the lowering of its wall, ensuring safe operation for many years to come,” Sunwater chief Glenn Stockton said.

“However, the concrete quality of the dam means it cannot be repaired to last the many decades we expect from these assets.”

A business case has started and new environmental approvals will be sought before a timeline and costings are provided.

The state government has also asked Sunwater to look into expanding the irrigation network of the Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme to address any capacity issues with dam supply.

Water Minister Glenn Butcher is set to address the dam rebuild in Bundaberg on Thursday.

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