Our water security

Water is our most valuable resource and securing adequate water supplies to meet growing demand over the next 30 years is a priority for Cairns Regional Council.

In recognition of the importance of community participation in the development of the Water Security Strategy, Council established a Water Security Advisory Group (WSAG). Over twelve months, the WSAG considered technical reports detailing the current water supply chain, possible alternatives, supply enhancements and the implications of each option for the community.

Based on three key drivers – demand, supply and performance – numerous water supply options were considered by WSAG and a Final Report was tabled with Council (April Ordinary Meeting ( PDF, 0.2 MB )).

The Final Report ( PDF, 2.35 MB ) provides a preferred strategy for implementing a series of short, medium and long-term actions.

The recommendations included in the report of the WSAG was adopted by Council in September 2015 as the Cairns Water Security Strategy (CWSS).  Council also identified short-term actions to advance implementation of the CWSS, including:

  • Demand Management Strategy (endorsed November 2015)
  • New water treatment plant for water sourced from the existing intake on Behana Creek and future use of Mulgrave River
  • Managed extractions from Mulgrave River to augment supplies from Behana Creek and Copperlode Falls Dam

For more details on this and the strategic plan, initiatives and answers to some frequently asked questions take a look at Our Water Security Flyer ( PDF, 5.1 MB )

What's Next:

While the CWSS has many aspects, the following key initiatives are planned over the short term:

  • Annual Review of Drivers
    • Population and Demand
  • Contributing to building Queensland's Nullinga Dam Business Case
  • Barron River Water Supply Scheme - further investigation
  • Planned ongoing updates on WSAG 29 recommendations

View the Cairns Water Security Strategy Points of Interest Map ( PDF, 2.87 MB )

Related Media Releases:

Water Security Advisory Group (WSAG)

Chaired by former Cairns Regional Council councillor Paul Gregory, the WSAG  included representatives from industry associations, environmental groups, local and state authorities and the general community, along with relevant Council staff.

The role of the WSAG was to guide the development of an affordable, practical and sustainable strategy that will ensure the future water needs of the Cairns Region are met.

In November 2016, the WSAG reconvened to receive an update on the implementation status of the CWSS.

Full Members

  • Cairns Regional Council (CRC)
  • Mareeba Shire Council (MSC)
  • Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM)
  • Department of Energy and Water Supply (DEWS)
  • Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA)
  • Mareeba Dimbulah Irrigation Area Council
  • Advance Cairns
  • Urban Development Industry Association (UDIA) Cairns
  • Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC)
  • Mulgrave River Aquifer Community Reference Panel (MRACRP)
  • Cairns River Improvement Trust (CRIT)
  • Cairns Youth Engagement and Action (YEA!)
  • Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples Alliance (RAPA)
  • and local general community members

Associate Members

  • Queensland Health
  • Mulgrave Central Mill
  • Stanwell
  • Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)
  • Sunwater
  • Canegrowers



Other documents

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State Government Development of Cairns Regional Water Supply Security Assessment (1.8 MB)
Department of Energy and Water Supply - Regional Water Supply Security Assessment for Cairns

Our water security

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Cairns Water Security Strategy Regional Points of Interest Map (2.9 MB)
Cairns Water Security Strategy Regional Points of Interest Map

Last updated: 16 June 2020