Here is our plan for a National Water Grid to drought-proof Australia – Stage 1. It shows the route map of proposed gravity-fed channels from the North Queensland collection points including Hell’s Gate dam into the Murray Darling Basin.

The route of the main aqueduct over the break in the Great Dividing Range at 300m is shown in magenta.

The distribution channels (in purple) to the main Hughenden and Longreach irrigation areas branch off the Lake Buchanan storage dam. This irrigation would be more extensive, reaching Richmond, Julia Creek, and Winton.

The main north-south aqueduct goes as far as Blackall.

A 12km lift pipeline at Blackall would bring water via Tambo to the Surat / upper St George area (green) near Roma. Pumping costs should be well under $30/ML, less if solar power is used. Gravity-fed channels run to Bourke via Quilpie (in blue) and St George via Charleville (yellow).

There is also an option to bring water over the Divide to Dalby in the upper Darling Downs near Toowoomba from the Burnett River (blue, lifts in red). This is expensive due to the pumped water – but a long way cheaper than trucking it! Pumping costs could be up near $100/ML.

h/t Jason Hall