Regional Water Assessment Program

A roadmap for economic growth in some of Queensland’s most significant food bowls is being established through the Regional Water Assessment Program.

Building on previous water supply investigations in each region, the program is taking a comprehensive view of local water needs and identifying gaps to be filled.

Potential sources of water supply are being considered across boundaries of local government areas and catchments to maximise benefits, increase the effective use of existing infrastructure, and minimise costs.

Stakeholder groups are helping to identify all water supply options in the regions and working with the department to reduce this list for further analysis. The assessment for each area will identify those projects that warrant further investment as they offer the best potential to achieve greater regional economic development through investment in water.

Once complete, the assessments will set out how existing infrastructure, new infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions can be used to maximise water supply in each area and drive economic growth.

Regional water assessment areas

The regional water assessments are exploring some of the state’s most significant food bowl areas, which were identified as having the best potential to achieve greater regional economic development through investment in water:

  • Southern and Darling Downs – including all of Southern Downs Regional Council, Goondiwindi Regional Council, Toowoomba Regional Council and parts of Western Downs Regional Council around Dalby. View a map of the Southern and Darling Downs assessment area (PDF, 775.7KB).
  • Bundaberg and Burnett – including all of Bundaberg Regional Council, South Burnett Regional Council, North Burnett Regional Council and Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council. View a map of the Bundaberg and Burnett assessment area (PDF, 718.7KB).
  • Tablelands – including all of Tablelands Regional Council and eastern parts of Mareeba Shire Council. View a map of the Tablelands assessment area (PDF, 759.3KB).
  • Burdekin – including all of Burdekin Shire Council and Whitsunday Regional Council, large parts of Barcaldine Regional Council, Charters Towers Regional Council, Isaac Regional Council and Townsville City Council, and parts of Hinchinbrook Shire Council, Mackay Regional Council and Tablelands Regional Council. View a map of the Burdekin assessment area (PDF, 557.8KB).

Each assessment is expected to take around 24 months to complete, although this can be longer if necessary. The Southern and Darling Downs assessment began in July 2021, and Tablelands assessment in November 2021. Early Bundaberg and Burnett assessment activity began in late 2021. The Burdekin assessment was announced in May 2023.


Local knowledge has been essential to getting the best results for each assessment area.

That’s why the assessment process has involved extensive ongoing consultation with local governments, industry and peak body representatives, Sunwater and other relevant entities. Consultation has also occurred with local Traditional Owners.

Each assessment is supported by a Stakeholder Advisory Group comprised of local government, industry and peak bodies, Sunwater and other relevant entity representation.


Public consultation on the draft assessment has closed and the final assessment is now being prepared.

Organisations involved in stakeholder consultation through the Stakeholder Advisory Group include:

  • Advance Cairns
  • AgForce Queensland
  • Cairns Regional Council
  • Mareeba Shire Council
  • Queensland Farmers Federation
  • Regional Development Australia Tropical North
  • Sunwater
  • Tablelands Regional Council
  • Tinaroo Water Committee

Bundaberg and Burnett

Public consultation on the draft assessment is coming soon.

Organisations already involved in stakeholder consultation through the Stakeholder Advisory Group include:

  • AgForce Queensland
  • Australian Macadamia Society
  • Avocados Australia
  • Bundaberg Ag-Food and Fibre Alliance
  • Bundaberg Canegrowers Ltd
  • Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers
  • Bundaberg Regional Council
  • Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation
  • Canegrowers Isis
  • Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council
  • Citrus Australia
  • EastAUS Milk
  • North Burnett Regional Council
  • Queensland Farmers Federation
  • Queensland Resources Council
  • Regional Development Australia (Wide Bay)
  • South Burnett Regional Council

Southern and Darling Downs

Assessment activity and stakeholder engagement is well progressed.

Additional time has been provided for this assessment to re-evaluate the Granite Belt Irrigation Project as an option in the Granite Belt region.

Preparations are anticipated to commence in the coming months for public consultation on the draft assessment.


Preparatory activities are under way and an inaugural Stakeholder Advisory Panel meeting is coming soon.

Further information

Please contact for further information.

Last updated: 28 Jul 2023