Callide Dam passes record rainfall event

24 Feb 2015

Callide Dam in Central Queensland has passed a record flood event following intense rainfall experienced during Tropical Cyclone Marcia on Friday, 20 February 2015.

SunWater General Manager Bulk Water and Irrigation Systems, Tom Vanderbyl, said SunWater understands that the Government will undertake a review of the operation of Callide Dam during Tropical Cyclone Marcia.

"SunWater will fully participate in all aspects of the review," he said.

"Our thoughts are with the local community and our staff who live in Jambin, Biloela and surrounding areas following the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Marcia.

"SunWater followed the protocols and procedures outlined in the dam’s Emergency Action Plan, approved in 2014."

Mr Vanderbyl noted that dam is not currently designed or operated to provide flood storage, but added that SunWater had received enquiries on whether pre-emptive water releases from Callide Dam might be made in the future to mitigate flooding.

"SunWater expects the independent review will provide the opportunity for these questions to be examined," he said.

"Tropical Cyclone Marcia passed directly over Callide Dam on Friday, which resulted in unprecedented inflows into the dam.

"Callide Dam passed a flood of record and handled a significantly larger volume of water than the previous flood of record during Tropical Cyclone Oswald in 2013.

"The intensity of the rainfall was extraordinary in that it led to a rapid increase in water levels upstream of the dam by more than seven metres in three hours, compared to Tropical Cyclone Oswald in 2013 where a 5.5 metre increase occurred over an 18 hour period.

"Peaking at 10:30pm on Friday, the dam discharged the equivalent of 1.8 Olympic swimming pools per second (3,480 cubic metres per second) through the dam’s radial gates and purpose-built spillway.

"Callide Dam’s automatic radial gates passed flood flows through the dam as they are designed to do, which ultimately ensure the stability and integrity of the dam wall itself."

Callide Valley Catchment Area – Fast Facts

  • The peak of the flood flow at the Callide Dam gates occurred at around 10:30pm on Friday, 20 February 2015.
  • The indicative flood water travel time from the Callide Dam section of the Callide Valley catchment to:
    • Jambin is approximately 12 hours
    • Goovigen is approximately 20 hours
  • The catchment of Callide Dam represents around 12 per cent of the total Callide Valley catchment area at Goovigen.
  • The Callide Valley comprises of several major creek systems, including Callide, Kroombit, Kariboe, Prospect, Grevillea and Bell Creeks.
  • River levels significantly higher than previous flood records were experienced in most of these creeks on Friday, 20 February.
  • Flood flows at Goovigen first peaked at 6am on Saturday morning and a second peak occurred between 6pm and 7pm on Saturday evening.


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