The State Government has begun the first public consultation phase of the environmental assessment process for the proposed Nathan Dam project on the Dawson River.
Coordinator-General Colin Jensen said draft Terms of Reference for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would be available for public comment until Friday 17 October 2008.
“The proposed Nathan Dam is located about 35 km north-east of Taroom on the Dawson River near Nathan Gorge,” Mr Jensen said.
“The project would support future resource development and power generation in the Surat Basin region.
It is anticipated that Nathan Dam will yield about 70,000 megalitres per annum of high priority water.
“When full, the dam would have a capacity of 880,000 megalitres and be up to 26.5 meters deep.
The project was declared a ‘significant project’ by the Coordinator-General on 2 May 2008 allowing assessment on a whole-of-government basis, through the Department of Infrastructure and Planning.
“The scale, potential effects and complexity of approvals for this project requires a rigorous EIS to consider the potential environmental, cultural and economic impacts,” Mr Jensen said.
“The proponent SunWater, must prepare a detailed EIS outlining the benefits of this project and show how they would mitigate or minimise potential environmental impacts.”
The Coordinator-General will then prepare a report evaluating the EIS and other relevant material such as public and advisory agency comments on the EIS. The report includes an assessment of the environmental effects of the project and any associated conditions.
As the project has been determined as a controlled action by the Commonwealth Government, approval by the Commonwealth Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts will also be required.
“Currently, the Dawson region’s water supplies are primarily sourced from a number of small weirs on the Dawson River.
“These storages rely on regular seasonal water flows to maintain the supplies to the people and industries in this region.”
The 2006 Central Queensland Regional Water Supply Strategy identified Nathan Dam as the future supply source for the Dawson-Callide region.
The strategy identified that the Dawson-Callide region will experience a shortfall of water for urban and industrial users by 2020, as well as unmet demand for additional water for agriculture.
The draft Terms of Reference are available at www.dip.qld.gov.au/projects/water/nathan-dam.html
The EIS is expected to be available for public and advisory agency comment in mid-2009.