In late 2019 SMEC was appointed as Lead Consultant on the Business Case for the A$4 billion Hells Gates Irrigation Scheme in Northern Queensland, Australia.

Working closely with our client, Townsville Enterprise Limited, our team have been busy gathering the necessary data to deliver a comprehensive business case which will inform future investment decisions for this long-anticipated project.

Despite the challenges of Covid-19 the team have progressed with site-based investigations. Geotechnical drilling, environmental investigations and cultural heritage assessments are well underway. “SMEC’s geotechnical engineers have been working on site since September 2020 and have completed over 11 geotechnical drill sites,” said SMEC’s Project Director, Graeme Pollock.

SMEC has made significant progress on the environmental studies including progression of several technical elements pertaining to terrestrial, aquatic, groundwater and social impact evaluation elements. We are proud to have worked closely with traditional owner groups and their technical advisors to deliver seven weeks of in field Cultural Heritage surveying.

In addition to work on-the-ground, the team are in the final stages of the development of the large-scale pumped hydropower opportunity as part of the broader Hells Gates Scheme.

SMEC is pleased to have engaged with over 50 external suppliers, consultants and contractors in its first 12 months of progress. “The local teams on the ground have continued to progress the project, despite some of the challenges of 2020, and we look forward to continuing to build on these relationships to finalise the business case in 2022”, said Graeme.

The Hells Gates Irrigation Scheme has the potential to transform North Queensland, opening the way for irrigated agriculture and power generation, whilst providing water security and growth for the regional economy.

SMEC acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional custodians of the lands in which we work. We pay our respects to the Elders of the past, present and future, and acknowledge their spiritual connection to Country. We pay our respects to the Gudjala and Gugu Badhun People.

Click here for more information about the Hells Gates Scheme.