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In 2016, Council undertook a water demand analysis and source options assessment for the Mossman – Port Douglas catchment, which considered various population growth scenarios and demand management strategies.  The conclusion was that an alternative source of raw water was required to deal with the increased demand.

A preferred site was identified on the Mossman River, adjacent to the Council-owned Drumsara site.  A detailed design for the Mossman River intake has been concluded.

The purpose of the new Mossman River intake is to extract water to provide a second water source for Port Douglas and Mossman users.

It will be in addition to the existing Rex Creek intake which currently supplies all the treated water needs of Port Douglas, Craiglie and Mossman.

The new Mossman River intake would only be activated when required, which will typically be during the drier months of the year.

Why is a second intake required?

Having a second intake will improve water security and the level of service for users of treated water in Port Douglas, Craiglie and Mossman.

The Rex Creek intake provides water for the Mossman – Port Douglas Water Scheme which serves about 7,000 people.

As the water level in Rex Creek drops at the intake, typically during the drier months of the year, water restrictions are progressively introduced to encourage water users to reduce their usage.

If the proposed new Mossman River intake is approved, once operational, the modelling indicates there should no longer be a requirement to progress to level 3 or level 4 water restrictions, except under exceptional circumstances.

Where is the new intake located? 

The proposed intake is located off Mossman Gorge Road, approximately 5 km downstream of the Mossman Gorge Visitors Centre.

The system will include a submerged gallery intake which extracts water through the river bed and pump station.


Douglas Shire Council is currently authorised to take up to 4,800 megalitres of water per year from Rex Creek. Estimated water usage from Rex Creek in 2021/22 was 4,387 megalitres.

The proposal is to apply to take an additional 2,000 megalitres per year from the Mossman River.

Based modelling completed, there will be negligible impact to the downstream water level in Mossman River.

Douglas Shire Council is very happy to provide the data behind the modelling, and/or set up a meeting to run through the modelling and answer any questions.

Feedback & Questions by 11 April 2023

If you require any further information, or have any feedback or concerns, please contact Gaye Scott, (07) 4099 9414 by 11 April 2023.

Cost of Project

Feasibility investigation and detailed design: $250,000
Planning, consultation and permits: $100,000
Construction: $8 million (estimated)

Project Updates

The detailed design of the Mossman River intake was completed in 2020.  The design includes an infiltration gallery for the collection of raw water.  A pump station then transfers water from the gallery to storage tanks, from where the raw water is transferred to the Mossman water treatment plant.

Council is currently in discussions with Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water (DRDMW) to obtain a water entitlement from the unallocated strategic reserve within the Mossman River catchment.  The outcome of this process may require modifications to the detailed design, the setting of extraction limits and/or other environmental requirements given the in-stream location of the infiltration gallery.

Once all of the approvals have been obtained, Council will rely significantly on the support of the State and Federal Governments for the necessary funding to complete the project on time.

Rex Creek Intake
Rex Creek Intake
Rex Creek Intake


For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Council on 07 4099 9444 or email

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