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Finding Water for Palm Island

Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning  North queensland
CDM Smith was engaged by the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning to provide technical support for hydrogeological investigation works for the feasibility of an emergency public groundwater supply for Palm Island, North Queensland.

Improved long-term water storage options on Palm Island are being inves­ti­gated to prevent the community from going through a cycle of droughts and water shortages.

CDM Smith was engaged by the Department of Infra­struc­ture, Local Government and Planning to provide technical support for hydro­ge­o­log­i­cal inves­ti­ga­tion works for the feasibility of an emergency public groundwater supply for Palm Island, North Queensland.

The hydro­ge­o­log­i­cal inves­ti­ga­tion that has been undertaken involved a program of drilling, construc­tion and testing of groundwater inves­ti­ga­tion wells in the northern area of the island. The objective of the inves­ti­ga­tion was to identify if a groundwater supply of sufficient quality and yield can be established to support the water demands of the island population.

CDM Smith determined drilling locations to determine the extend of the groundwater supply and undertook drilling and the analysis and modelling of the testing data for the wells.

Groundwater could potentially supply a third of the island's current water demand.

CDM Smith also inves­ti­gated raising two dam walls which could also meet a third of demand, and also explored linking Bamboo Creek Dam to Ming­gud­jamba Banbar­rib­arra Dam (Francis Creek Dam).

The key outcomes and findings of the hydro­ge­o­log­i­cal inves­ti­ga­tion conducted for Palm Island include further drilling and aquifer testing inves­ti­ga­tions are recommended to fully assess the potential for developing a viable groundwater supply to supplement the existing Palm Island public water supply.

In February the Queensland Government approved work to install a temporary desali­na­tion plant and other emergency measures for the community to tackle the recent water supply shortages. However, heavy rainfall in March brought Solomon Dam back to capacity and Banbar­rib­arra Dam to 65 percent, allowing the opportunity to explore long-term solutions.

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