Bundaberg is one of the driest sugar-producing areas in the State and up until the early 1970s agriculture had drawn on a small subartesian water resource to irrigate crops.

In 1970, the Queensland Government adopted a proposal for a two-phase scheme to provide water supplies for most of the Bundaberg district. Construction began in 1970, with the second phase completed in 1993. Ned Churchward Weir was added to the scheme in 1998.

The Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme supplies water to farmlands located in the Burnett, Kolan and Isis shires and for the city of Bundaberg and communities in the Burnett, Kolan and Isis.

The scheme is unique in Queensland in that it is the only large-scale irrigation area that was designed to serve existing farming enterprises. Over 600 kilometres of channel and pipeline traverse the landscape distributing supplies to over 1,000 properties connected to the surface water scheme.

Uses of Water


Water is supplied for the irrigation of crops including sugar cane, tomatoes, rockmelons,watermelons, capsicum, zucchini, beans, macadamia nuts and avocados.

Urban Water Supplies

The Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme supplies water to the city of Bundaberg and communities in the Burnett, Kolan, and Isis shires. These councils treat and reticulate water to residents.


Water is supplied to various industrial enterprises including sugar mills.

Major Storages

Fred Haigh Dam

The Fred Haigh Dam was completed in 1975 and lies approximately 75 kilometres from the mouth of the Kolan River.

Paradise Dam

Paradise Dam was completed in 2005 and is situated approximately 20kms north-west of Biggenden and 80kms south-west of Bundaberg.

Channel/Pipeline System

Channel supplies supplement or replace demand for groundwater in the district. The Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) manages the use of groundwater.

Gooburrum Channel System

Gooburrum Pump Station, located 6 kilometres upstream of the Kolan Barrage, delivers water to the Gooburrum area through a balancing storage and system of open channels and pipelines. The reticulation system is controlled by automatic regulator gates which maintain constant downstream water levels, thereby improving distribution efficiency by providing water to farms only as required.

Abbotsford Channel System

This system supplies water from the Kolan River to farms through 4 kilometres of pipeline.