QAL, Yarwun to reap rewards of Gladstone's $29m mega-project

A "SMALL dam" near Gladstone Benaraby Road worth $29 million will create two more weeks of water security that Gladstone doesn't currently have.

It was announced today work will start on the offline storage facility on Cupitt Road in February next year.

The facility will hold about 1200ML, or 14 days water supply, in case the Awoonga Dam Pump Station fails.

The pump station replenishes the region's water network nightly, however, a failure could interrupt a number of key industries.

These include the Gladstone Power Station, Callide Power Station, Boyne Smelters Limited, Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun and Gladstone and Cement Australia.

Gladstone Area Water Board projects manager David Bezuidenhout explained water would be pumped from Awoonga Dam into the storage facility.

"Then it's going to provide a two week window for us to do certain maintenance works at Awoonga Dam if need be," Mr Bezuidenhout said.

"Previously we've only had eight hours to do maintenance if anything goes wrong."

Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher said the water security was vital for Gladstone households and our big industries.

"We've seen issues before with our water supply during flooding and cyclones," Mr Butcher said.

"This now means we will have two weeks of supply in case anything does go wrong."

Earlier this year Gladstone Industry Leadership Group chief executive officer Kurt Heidecker told The Observer the last time supply was threatened showed how important water was to industry.

"When we had the millennial drought (1997-2009), sites were looking at alternatives. One was looking at reverse osmosis, (and) there was stormwater and sewerage," he said.

"If there was some flexibility in the supply it would be good for the process.

"It's a key strategic resource in town, (all of the industries) would use raw water."

He said the major users would be Rio Tinto Alcan Gladstone and Yarwun, Cement Australia. Boyne Smelters Limited and Orica would have less water requirements. 

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