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Lower Burdekin Groundwater Strategy Project

We are developing a groundwater strategy to address the threat that rising groundwater levels and soil salinity pose to the economic productivity of the agriculture-rich Lower Burdekin region in North Queensland.

Sugar cane production in the Lower Burdekin groundwater strategy project area has an annual turnover estimated at between $160 to 180 million. The region has the highest sugar cane yield, in terms of tonnes per hectare productivity, of any region in Australia. Agriculture is the largest employer in the Burdekin local government area, employing over 1,500 people.

Higher groundwater levels can waterlog the soil and increase salinity, reducing the productivity of agricultural land and limiting opportunities for further development. It can also result in additional run-off to sensitive downstream environments (e.g. the Ramsar-listed wetlands at Bowling Green Bay and the Great Barrier Reef).

Discussion paper

This discussion paper was the first step in the development of a strategy to address rising groundwater in the Lower Burdekin. Feedback on the discussion paper has now closed.

Next steps

We are now analysing the feedback received on the discussion paper and undertaking technical assessments to inform the development of a draft Lower Burdekin groundwater strategy. If you would like more information on the project please email waterinfonorth@dnrme.qld.gov.au.

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Last updated: 10 January 2018


The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy is an economic development agency that enables the productive and responsible use of our natural resources – water, land, mineral and energy resources – to generate wealth and prosperity for current and future generations of Queenslanders.

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