Nullinga Dam

Project Description

Our region has enjoyed consistent population growth over the past 25 years. The recently completed Cairns Water Security Strategy (CWSS) stresses that this growth has been underpinned by the expansion of several industries, including agriculture, fisheries and tourism.  Consequently, investment in key water infrastructure is critical to service our sustained economic growth.

Consistent with the CWSS, the opportunity to assess and construct Nullinga Dam and associated infrastructure would provide long term water security for the wider region and enable growth in Northern Australia. The purpose of the dam is to allow for the future urban demand in Cairns and Mareeba and future agricultural demand in the Mareeba-Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme (MDWSS).

The current indicated storage capacity of the proposed dam is 365,000Ml, but it could provide an additional 126,000Ml with enhanced design options focused on the size of the dam wall. Existing infrastructure is in place to connect a new water supply from the Nullinga Dam to the existing MDWSS.

While the Nullinga Dam project would provide both agricultural and urban water supply options, it also has the potential to stimulate a number of other catalytic projects around its construction, including hydro, lake-surface solar and water treatment plants.

Under the Northern Australian White Paper, the Federal Government has committed $5M to assessing the viability of the proposal, but further resources are required to secure approvals and investment. Whilst funded by the Commonwealth, this study will be overseen by Building Queensland.



The Nullinga Dam feasibility work has been listed as a priority project in the report of the Northern Australian White Paper. Estimated study timelines are 12 to 18 months commencing December 2016.


Walsh River, southwest of Mareeba

  • That the Queensland Government, through Building Queensland, works with the Commonwealth Government to ensure the feasibility study is progressed within the context of the CWSS, ensuring a clear link between the proposal and the future urban water and agricultural needs in the region.
  • That the Queensland Government commits to the acquisition of the land required for the Dam in the 2017/18 FY.

CEO Advance Cairns
Ph: 07 4080 2900

PROPONENTS: Advance Cairns , Cairns Regional Council,
Mareeba Shire Council, Tablelands Regional
Council,  FNQROC
PRIORITY: Infrastructure
COUNCIL: Mareeba Shire Council