GAWB owns and operates Awoonga Dam on the Boyne River along with a network of delivery pipelines, water treatment plants and other bulk water distribution infrastructure in the Gladstone region in Central Queensland. GAWB has a water allocation of 78,000 mega litres per annum (ML p.a.) from Awoonga Dam, granted under the Water Act, and is a bulk water supplier to the Gladstone region. This means we can extract a maximum of 78,000 ML p.a. from Awoonga Dam for supply to customers. We play a significant role in the economic sustainability of the Queensland economy due to the diverse, export-orientated industries located in the region.
The Boyne River Basin is in Queensland’s central coast region and covers approximately 2590 square kilometres. The catchment is bound by Many Peaks Range to the east, Dawes Range to the south, Calliope Range to the south-west and Boyne Range to the west. The terrain is relatively steep with heights ranging from 600 to 850 metres above sea level. The Boyne River Basin plan area comprises a single catchment with one major river system (the Boyne River) and several tributaries (including Ridler, Degalgil, Marble and Diglum Creeks) that drain to Gladstone Harbour and the Great Barrier Reef.
The climate of the Boyne River Basin is classified as sub-tropical with warm to hot summers and mild dry winters. The average annual rainfall in the basin ranges between 800 and 1000 millimetres.
Gladstone is the major regional centre in the Boyne River Basin and is an area of economic significance at both a state and a national level due to its metals processing industries, power generation and port facilities, which all utilise water sourced from the Boyne River, more specifically Awoonga Dam.
Several ecologically important areas and protected areas both within and adjacent to the plan area include the Coral Sea, Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Dugong Protection Areas, Boyne Island Conservation Park and various national parks and state forests. More specifically, Diglum Creek has significant environmental values including rainforest and coastal significant vegetation and important habitat of the critically endangered Kroombit tinkerfrog (Taudactylus pleione).
The focus of GAWB’s catchment management is to achieve an appropriate balance in commercial, water quality and environmental outcomes. The main risks for the raw water quality in Lake Awoonga are the land uses and environmental features of the upper Boyne River catchment over which GAWB has limited control. GAWB is an active member of the Fitzroy Basin Association’s Boyne Calliope Catchment Management which promotes neighbouring landholder activities that maintain and improve water quality, riparian fencing and off-stream watering points for cattle.
The Boyne Valley catchment is approximately 2,230km2. The quality of water within Awoonga Dam is significantly influenced by the type and management of land use activities in the catchment, with nutrients and sediment levels attributed to the land clearing and cattle grazing that has occurred in the Boyne Valley over the past 100 years.
Raw water collected from the catchment runs into the Boyne River and is stored in Lake Awoonga. The storage of water in Awoonga Dam involves a combination of physical, chemical and biological changes which are influenced by the size and shape of Lake Awoonga. Inflow and weather conditions, amongst other things, affect water quality and its suitability for use.