A Tim Nicholls-led Liberal National Government will upgrade the Haughton Channel and duplicate the Ross River Dam pipeline to improve Townsville’s water security.

Townsville is relatively dry and has experienced droughts of up to five years. These prolonged dry periods impact Townsville’s water security and supply, which is currently low.

Townsville’s issues with water security are obvious when considering water restrictions have been in place since 1996. Townsville is now on level three water restrictions, targeting a city usage limit of 100 megalitres per day (ML/day).

Townsville has three years of supply when the dams are at full capacity, in comparison to south-east Queensland’s dam storages which provide up to 10 years’ supply.

Townsville city is growing rapidly at around two to three per cent every year, one of the highest rates in Queensland. But to sustainably grow, and for businesses to continue to thrive, the city needs to address the ongoing issue of water security.

The current Haughton Pipeline provides a bulk water supply link to the Burdekin Haughton Water Supply Scheme. This pipeline is capable of pumping 130ML/day of raw water into the Ross River Dam to top up water levels during periods of low rainfall, however up to 30ML/day is lost through evaporation. This is why the current level three restrictions target 100ML/day of usage.

The new Haughton Pipeline would provide an additional 234ML/day of raw water supply, bringing total capacity up to 356ML/day.


In government, the LNP implemented a 30-year water strategy to develop a water sector supporting productivity, economic growth, strong communities and a natural environment that is valued. As part of WaterQ, the LNP delivered a water security assessment for Townsville which identified a range of steps to address water security issues in the region.

For 2½ years, the Palaszczuk Labor Government has failed to deal with these obvious and ongoing issues. Labor has consistently cut the state infrastructure budget, including in the Townsville region. This not only means fewer jobs for locals, it means that important projects, such as the Haughton Pipeline upgrade, have been delayed.


A Tim Nicholls-led LNP Government will spend $225 million to upgrade the Haughton Channel and duplicate the Ross River Dam pipeline to support Townsville’s long term water security.

The LNP will call for expressions of interest for construction contractors within 100 days of a Nicholls-led LNP Government. 

We won’t delay funding of this project out over a four-year period – this will only exacerbate water security issues in the short term. We will provide the funding as fast as possible so the engineers can do their work and this project can become a reality. Townsville has already waited too long to get the water security the region deserves. Only the LNP will deliver the infrastructure needed to build a better Queensland.

This is just one part of our comprehensive plan to build a better Queensland and strengthen the Queensland economy.