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The Hell’s Gate Feasibility Study

Our Role

SMEC was engaged by Townsville Enterprise Limited (TEL) to undertake the Hell’s Gate Dam and Irrigation Scheme Feasibility Study in the Upper Burdekin catchment of Northern Queensland. The 12-month study determined the dam’s engineering, environmental and economic feasibility.

Project Overview

SMEC led a team of specialists and consultants to study and report on the feasibility of a 2,100 Gigalitre Dam and 50,000 hectares of agricultural district, amongst other subsequent opportunities around pumped hydroelectric power generation, solar farm, and major irrigation networks.

The Hell’s Gate Dam project has been in discussion since 1938 and has been the subject of a number of investigations in the 1970s through to 2014. SMEC has had a long association with Townsville and the North Queensland region and had conducted some of the original preliminary studies into the Hell’s Gate Dam in the 1970s.

The scope of work included:

  • Water resource and cropping assessments
  • Agronomy and field studies on soil conditions
  • Concept engineering of Hell’s Gate Dam, Big Rocks Weir, irrigation infrastructure, power supply, road and associated infrastructure
  • Water delivery to the City of Townsville
  • Ecology and environmental assessment
  • Stakeholder relations
  • Economic and financial assessments

Key Benefits

This project produced the first fully investigated feasibility study into the dam and irrigation scheme, and has been a precursor to attracting investment for the construction of a nation-building project over the next 10-20 years.

SMEC partnered with leading local businesses to not only achieve the project objectives, but also provide high-level expertise in areas such as cropping analysis, water resource modelling, environmental assessments and economic analysis, which were crucial to project success.

Technical Area:
Water / Dams
Townsville Enterprise Limited

Learn More

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