The Queensland Government has announced an A$400M (US$298M) plan to build a new dam at Wyaralong, 14km northwest of Beaudesert in the Logan river catchment.

The Australian state’s premier, Peter Beattie, said the dam was one of four new water storage initiatives on the Logan/Albert river catchment to provide an additional 42,000 megalitres per annum for southeast Queensland.

He said the initiatives had been chosen on the basis of a number of factors including cost effectiveness, yield, environmental, cultural and social impact, strategic value, and reliability of the sources and all will be a key part of a regional water grid to meet the growing needs of the region.

The Wyaralong dam, to be located on Teviot Brook, was one of two sites the government was considering on the Logan river. Test drilling had shown that a dam could be constructed at either Tilleys Bridge or Wyralong, with the Tilleys Bridge site providing a greater yield at 47,000 megalitres. However, the local community had voiced concerns about the Tilleys Bridge site, as it would have had major impacts on business and industry in the towns of Rathdowney, Beaudesert and Palen Creek.

‘We have worked hard over the past few months re-examining all aspects of both sites. No matter where we locate the dam it will cause disruption and angst for the people affected by its construction,’ said Beattie. ‘However, a dam at Tilleys Bridge would have a far greater community impact and over the past couple of months residents have voiced their concerns strongly.

‘We have listened, looked at the whole picture and chosen the best option on this basis,’ he added.

The dam at Wyaralong will provide approximately 21,000 megalitres per annum, and will be supplemented by the construction of a new off-stream storage at Bromelton with water harvesting from the Logan river. The Hinze dam will also be raised, and water will be harvested from the Canungra Creek, the Coomera river and other suitable locations.

Construction work on the dam is expected to start as soon the required planning and approval process has been completed. Work on the scheme – estimated to cost between A$400M-500M (US$298M-372M) – is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.