Fairbairn Dam performed well during Emerald’s major flood event

04 Feb 2008

More than 9,000 megalitres of water continues to pour over the crest of the Fairbairn Dam every day after the State’s second largest dam spilled for the first time in 17 years just over two weeks ago.

SunWater Regional Manager Nev Wogandt said the dam took full advantage of the massive inflows that fell within the 16,000 square kilometre catchment area, and was now sitting at just over 106% capacity.

Mr Wogandt said the dam was holding 1,380,370 megalitres and was still 50 centimetres above the spillway crest after reaching 4.44 metres during peak flood times.

“We are very happy with the way in which the dam handled the region’s recent deluge and it continues to mitigate flood waters that are still within the catchment area,” Mr Wogandt said.

Mr Wogandt said the flood waters were well within the design capabilities of the dam and SunWater was always confident of the dam’s integrity during the flood event.

“The dam certainly served its intended purpose which is to efficiently manage major rainfall events that may occur and to then capture floodwaters for the use of farms, towns and mines.
“Certainly, the dam was able to minimise some of the damaging flood effects by holding back a great deal of the water and redirecting it through the purpose-built spillway,” he said.

Mr Wogandt said he was pleased with the way SunWater’s Emerald staff worked closely with local council and State Emergency Service personnel during the flood event to ensure the safety of the townspeople and property.     

He said while the dam was now in a very good position to deliver water supplies to farms, towns and mines, it would still rely on normal periodic rains across the catchment on a regular basis to maintain that level.

Media Enquiries

Glenn Pfluger
Media Advisor
Phone +61 7 3120 0047
Mobile 0407 574 663
Email glenn.pfluger@sunwater.com.au

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