Acknowledgement of Country

The Cairns Water Security Stage 1 (CWSS1) project is being developed on Yidinji Country. Cairns Regional Council acknowledges and pays our respects to the Traditional Custodians of the lands covered by the project area, the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji, Dulabed and Malanbarra Yidinji, and Madjandji peoples. We extend this respect to all Elders past, present and future.

Cairns Regional Council is developing the Cairns Water Security Stage 1 project to deliver a new drinking water supply to the Cairns community. It will augment existing supplies from Copperlode Falls Dam, Behana Creek and Council's smaller rural intakes.

The project involves building a new water intake at the Mulgrave River, Gordonvale. Water will be pumped from the river and treated at a new Water Treatment Plant at north Gordonvale.

Key components of the project are:

  • A new water intake at the Mulgrave River, Gordonvale.
  • A new water treatment plant and water reservoirs at north Gordonvale.
  • A network of pipelines to take raw water from the water intake to the water treatment plant, and treated water from the treatment plant to Cairns residents.
  • Associated works to improve the treatment of the existing Behana Creek water supply.

The CWSS1 project is needed to service the growing population of Cairns, which has more than tripled since the region’s main water supply, Copperlode Falls Dam, was built in 1976.

With our population projected to reach 265,000 people by 2050, CWSS1 will augment Council's existing water supplies.

Council's approach to securing the region's water needs is underpinned by the Cairns Water Security Strategy 2015.

The Strategy identifies the CWSS1 project and demand management as two priority water security initiatives. It was developed by the Water Security Advisory Group, which included local representatives from:

  • Business groups
  • Community groups
  • Youth groups
  • The Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples Alliance
  • Environmental groups
  • Elected members of Cairns Regional Council, and relevant adjoining councils
  • Government agencies

Cairns Regional Council is committed to a high level of engagement on the CWSS1 project with Traditional Custodians, landholders, the local Gordonvale community, project stakeholders, and the broader Cairns community.

Engagement has commenced and will scale-up as the project progresses. Check this page regularly for details of upcoming consultation and engagement activities.

Members of the CWSS1 project team are available to give a presentation about the project to interested community and business organisations. Please email to find out more.

The CWSS1 project will deliver a range of benefits:

  • Improved water system redundancy
  • Support for regional economic prosperity
  • Local employment and training opportunities
  • Community health outcomes by maintaining clean water supply
  • Social stability through the provision of a consistent and reliable drinking water supply to the Cairns region
  • Sustainable liveability and public amenity.
  • Increased cultural and water education opportunities

In April 2023, Council entered into an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) Agreement for ECI services with the following parties:

  • John Holland Queensland Pty Ltd; and
  • Seymour Whyte Constructions Pty Ltd & Spiecapag Australia Pty Ltd (known as Spiecapag Seymour Whyte Joint Venture)

The ECI program will continue throughout the remainder of 2023.

Learn about the Cairns Water Security Stage 1 project

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Contact Us

For all enquiries about the Cairns Water Security Stage 1 project:

Phone 1300 69 22 47