Dredging the Burnett River: The Better, Safer Option

by | Oct 13, 2021

The official response to the floods of 2010-2011 and 2013 has been to propose the construction of the East Bundaberg Levee. This structure would deliver minimal protection to parts of East Bundaberg and the Bundaberg CBD. North Bundaberg would retain the same levels of protection that saw that area catastrophically submerged in 2013. It is also expected that homes and businesses on the wrong side of the wall would quickly find themselves uninsurable or even inaccessible.

To put it simply, the levee costs too much and does too little to be considered a solution here. Fortunately for all stakeholders, there is a better, safer option that has been thoroughly studied and can be implemented simply.

Fixing the problem at its source

The Burnett River has suffered through years of neglect. The construction of the Bundaberg Port led to the cessation of dredging activities further upstream. The introduction of dams with little concern for the natural environment has gradually choked the river. Rather than a wall, we propose widening of the Burnett River at Millaquin Bend and regular dredging to remove the excess silt thus allowing the water to flow freely. This action, in combination with restrictions on development in the areas most likely to flood, would go a long way to reducing the impact of the next major natural disaster.

Benefits of Dredging

The Bundaberg Region can benefit from all of the following with this solution:

  • The extracted sand can be sold profitably by mining companies if the approvals are made available by the relevant authorities
  • Maintenance for the project could conceivably pay for itself if the company that sells the sand also bears responsibility for future dredging
  • A wider Burnett River would be large enough to significantly reduce damage to South and East Bundaberg in an event comparable to the floods of 2013

As more residents have been informed about the flaws of the proposed levee and the existence of better alternatives, support for dredging the river is growing. Our proposed Flood Mitigation Strategy also includes the implementation of a North Bundaberg Evacuation Route to ensure that residents are never again cut off in the event of severe flooding. Learn more about our plans and progress on our news page.