Featured image: Completed Rockwood Weir in Queensland. Image courtesy of Sunwater

Sunwater has announced that construction of the $568.9 million Rockwood Weir is now complete, housing up to 86,000mL of water available annually for agriculture, urban and industrial use. 

The $568.9 million Rookwood Weir, west of Rockhampton, will yield 86,000mL each year to boost economic growth, agricultural production and industry in Central Queensland.

It is the largest weir completed in Australia since World War 2, and is also the largest piece of new water infrastructure delivered in Australia since the Queensland Government completed Wyaralong Dam in 2011.

Since construction began in late 2020, the project has injected more than $270 million into Central Queensland’s economy and provided 350 jobs, with more than half the positions filled by workers from the local region.

More than 30 apprentices and trainees worked on the project, creating more workers for the significant number of Queensland water projects in the pipeline.  

The weir is designed to deliver significant benefits to Central Queensland by shoring up the region’s water security and driving economic growth and job creation for generations to come. 

More than 36,000mL of water from the weir has already been allocated to agricultural use, with a mix of small businesses and larger enterprises from the region now able to expand or diversify their operations.

The first water from the weir is expected to be available for use in 2024.

More than 2.189 million hours were spent building the weir and several supporting projects, including:

  • $2.2 million upgrade of the Capricorn Highway intersection (completed September 2020)
  • $7.5 million upgrade and widening of Thirsty Creek Road (completed June 2020)
  • $12.5 million construction of the 260-metre long Riverslea Bridge (completed April 2021)
  • $2.2 million upgrade of Hanrahans Crossing (estimated completion November 2023)
  • $17 million construction of a new Foleyvale Bridge (due for completion late 2023)
  • $7 million installation of new fishway at the Fitzroy River Barrage (due for completion mid 2024)

Rookwood Weir was delivered through an Alliance composed of Sunwater, construction partners ACCIONA and McCosker Contracting, and design partner GHD.

Rookwood Weir will also deliver important benefits for the Traditional Custodians of the land at the weir site with the Queensland Government and Darumbal People Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC signing an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) in April 2022.

A water allocation from the weir has been provided to the Darumbal People in perpetuity which will support ongoing cultural and economic development opportunities. A traditional language name will form part of the weir’s official title– Rookwood Weir (Managibei Gamu). This name gifted by the Darumbal People means ‘keeping-saving’ water.

The Federal Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek, Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick and Water Minister Glenn Butcher joined local Queensland MPs, and dignitaries on-site marked the significant milestone of the construction period being completed. 

“As well as boosting water security for Central Queensland, the Rookwood Weir features an innovative fish lock and turtle passage that will support species habitat and migration in the Lower Fitzroy River.

“This project is a win for nature, a win for jobs and a win for water security in Central Queensland,” Ms Plibersek said. 

Mr Butcher said the Rookwood Weir demonstrates the Queensland Government’s commitment to Central Queensland. 

“We deliver on our promises and we continue to invest in regional water infrastructure. This project is part of our $5.2 billion investment in water infrastructure since 2015 which has created 3,400 jobs across the state,” Mr Butcher said. 

“We cannot underestimate how significant this achievement is. These big pieces of infrastructure are complex projects – Rookwood Weir was delivered in an in-river environment and impacted by inundation events throughout construction. The fact that it has been delivered on time and won design awards just shows how well we can build things here in Queensland.”

Chair of the Darumbal People Aboriginal Corporation (DPAC), George James, said that the Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) for the Rookwood Weir Project ensures that the Darumbal people maintain custodian responsibility for our waterways.

“Protecting our culture is a focus for DPAC, so we are pleased to gift the Darumbal language, Managibei Gamu – meaning ‘keeping-saving water’ – for the weir,” said Mr James. 

“Managibei Gamu is located on Tunuba (Fitzroy River), which is the lifeblood for Darumbal country.

“We look forward to working with the owners of Managibei Gamu for business opportunities to maintain a healthy and active river for future generations.”

Featured image: Completed Rockwood Weir in Queensland. Image courtesy of Sunwater

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