Water sources and supply

The Cairns region is under permanent water conservation measures. To view current restrictions, visit our Saving Water page.

Water - at a glance

  • User pays encourages water conservation – the less you use, the less you pay
  • A typical Cairns resident uses 284 litres of drinking water per day
  • Residential properties pay $1.23 for 1000 litres of drinking water
  • Commercial properties pay $1.30 for 1000 litres of drinking water

Water sources

The Cairns community is supplied with water from Copperlode Falls Dam and Behana Creek. Water from Copperlode Dam supplies areas to the north of Cairns and the Cairns city. The Behana Creek source supplies areas south of Cairns as well as the Cairns city. This raw water is treated at Council's treatment plants and then stored in our 76 reservoirs.

Council's YouTube site Water infrastructure provides a technical account (with subtitles) of water and wastewater infrastructure for professionals and specialist authorities.

Copperlode Falls Dam

Copperlode Falls Dam is the main supply of water for the Cairns Region. The dam has a total capacity is 38,400 megalitres (ML) which is approximately 15, 000 olympic swimming pools. The dam is designed to capture some of our high seasonal rainfall and provides a reliable water source for homes and businesses in the region.

The Dam Summary provides information about the current dam level.

Southern rural water supply

Residents south of Aloomba to Bartle Frere and in the Mulgrave Valley receive water via small intakes (creeks). Treatment includes disinfection prior to being sorted in a supply reservoir for delivery to customers.  Monthly drinking water quality results are available below:

We are currently experiencing technical issues with displaying our water summary report for Copperlode Falls Dam water levels. Our team are currently working to resolve the issue and we will have it available here on our website as soon as we can. We apologise for any inconvenience.

ZoneSuburbWater sourceWater quality report
Bartle FrereBartle FrereMajuba Creek Bartle Frere [PDF]
Bramston BeachBramston BeachJoyce/Worth Creek Bramston Beach [PDF]
MirriwinniMirriwinniPugh Creek Mirriwinni [PDF]
BabindaBabindaFrenchman Creek Babinda [PDF]
Bellenden KerBellenden KerJunction Creek Bellenden Ker [PDF]
Fishery FallsFishery FallsFishery Creek Fishery Falls [PDF]
Mountain View/Orchid ValleyMountain View, Little Mulgrave, Orchid ValleyLittle Mulgrave Mountain View/Orchid Valley [PDF]
Bessie PointBessie PointMick Creek Bessie Point [PDF]
SouthernAloomba, Bayview Heights, Bentley Park, Edmonton, Forest Gardens, Goldsborough, Gordonvale, Meringa, Mt Sheridan, White Rock, WoreeCopperlode Dam, Behana Creek Southern [PDF]
CentralAeroglen, Brinsmead, Bungalow, Cairns City, Cairns North, Earlville, Edge Hill, Freshwater, Kamerunga, Manoora, Manunda, Mooroobool, Paramatta Park, Portsmith, Redlynch, Stratford, Westcourt, WhitfieldCopperlode Dam, Behana Creek Central [PDF]
NorthernBarron, Caravonica, Clifton Beach, Holloways Beach, Kewarra Beach, Machans Beach, Palm Cove, Smithfield, Trinity Beach, Trinity Park, Yorkey's KnobCopperlode Dam, Behana Creek Northern [PDF]

Refer to the wastewater management section for details on recycled water initiatives in the Cairns region. For further information on Council's recycled water policy please view the strategy and policy page.

Drinking Water Quality

Cairns Regional Council undertakes an Annual Review of the Drinking Water Quality Management Plan in line with the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008. The management of drinking water quality outlined in the Act aims to protect public health.

Included in the Drinking Water Quality Management Plan is a Register of high risk stakeholders which includes elderly and the immuno-compromised. Cairns Regional Council’s Water and Waste Department are inviting those who believe they may fit into this category to apply for inclusion on the Register.

Sometimes the chlorination and filtration system may not be able to adequately filter and disinfect the water due to storm events decreasing the quality of raw water or due to unforeseen mechanical faults. This increases the risk of microbiological contamination. Cairns Regional Council’s Water & Waste department regularly takes water samples to test for waterborne pathogens and bacteria, e.g. E.coli and Cryptosporidium which can cause illness. If the supply cannot be guaranteed as fit for use, further testing is undertaken and a Boil Water notice is issued in consultation with QLD health.

Those who believe they may fit into this category are invited to apply for inclusion on the High Risk Stakeholder Register by completing the Critical Customer registration form ( PDF, 0.23 MB ).


If you have any further comments or concerns, please add them to the form or contact Water & Waste’s Quality & Compliance Unit on 1300 69 22 47 to discuss further.

Recycled water

PDF File icon

Recycled Water Do's and Don'ts (673.7 KB)
Class A+ recycled water is approved for use in watering gardens, flushing toilets, car and boat washing, washing of houses and hard surfaces (external), filling ornamental water features and ponds, and fire fighting.

Last updated: 02 November 2020