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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.

The Water Security Strategy and Implementation Plan was adopted by Council in August 2023, which supported an application for an additional water licence. This will enable the new Mossman River Intake to supplement the existing supply from Rex Creek Intake. However, in light of recent events causing expected long term turbidity issues at the Rex Creek Intake, the design of the Mossman River Intake needs to be reviewed and updated to enable a 100% alternative water supply source as required. This will provide redundancy to the existing supply line and improve resilience of our water supply system.

Council is working closely with funding bodies State and Federal Governments for the necessary funding to complete the project in a timely manner.

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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