Safety first at regional Queensland waterways this Easter

31 Mar 2015

SunWater is urging visitors to regional Queensland dams and weirs to stay safe this Easter break, following recent reports of people taking risks around local waterways.

SunWater General Manager Bulk Water and Irrigation Systems Tom Vanderbyl said many SunWater dams would see an increase in visitors for swimming, boating and fishing during the long weekend and school holiday period.

"We expect that our dams will again be popular places to visit during Easter and we want everyone to enjoy the facilities safely," Mr Vanderbyl said.

"Recently we have been alarmed to see people taking needless risks around our local infrastructure, including trespassing, boating close to dam walls and fishing off outlet structures," he said.

"This kind of behaviour is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous and immediately reported to the police who have the power to take action against the offenders.

"All visitors should heed safety signage and remain in designated recreational areas, well away from dam and weir walls.

"Holiday makers should be aware that while things may appear calm on the surface, there can be submerged hazards such as stumps and rocks which can cause serious injury.

"Irrigation channels are not safe for swimming due to safety hazards including submerged pipe inlets, siphons, hidden currents and steep slopes.

"It only takes common sense to read the signs and avoid tragedy these school holidays."

SunWater’s dam safety tips:

  • Observe all signs – they contain important information about the water, potential hazards and Blue-Green Algae (BGA) levels
  • Do not boat, swim or ski while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Remain a safe distance from dam and weir walls and outlet structures
  • Stay in designated recreational areas
  • Be cautious of hidden dangers, such as submerged stumps, rocks and weeds
  • Boaties stay clear of swimmers and skiers and not enter restricted buoyed areas.

Recent incidents of unsafe behaviour at SunWater locations

North Queensland Region

Date Location Incident


Mirani Diversion Channel

A man was caught fishing illegally at the water’s edge of the Mirani Diversion Channel where it runs into Kinchant Dam. Police attended and issued the man with a trespass infringement notice.


Peter Faust Dam

A man was caught on surveillance cameras trespassing and fishing 30 metres from the outlet works at Peter Faust Dam. A SunWater employee moved him on.


Clare A Main Channel

Two young males in an all terrain vehicle were caught driving along the top of the Clare A Main Channel bank. SunWater staff moved them on.


Kinchant Dam

A member of the public lost control of their four wheel drive and crashed through the chain fence at Kinchant Dam, damaging the gazebo, water line, concrete picnic tables and chairs at the recreation area. Police and firefighters attended to recover the vehicle from the water’s edge.


Mirani Pump Station

Eton local police issued an on-the-spot fine to a member of the public for trespassing on SunWater land at Mirani pump station.


Nardellos Lagoon

SunWater received reports of people driving over guide posts in the Nardellos Lagoon access roads. SunWater reported details to police.


Central Queensland Region

Date Location Incident


Paradise Dam

Four members of the public were seen swimming below the spillway at Paradise Dam. SunWater staff moved them on.


Bjelke- Petersen Dam

Members of the public were seen fishing at the outlet works at Bjelke-Petersen Dam. Staff attended and asked the people to leave.


Woongarra Main Channel

Four young males caught knee boarding behind vehicles in the Woongarra Main Channel access roads. The incident was reported to police.


Woongarra Main Channel

Eight children were caught on surveillance cameras swimming at the regulating structure of the Woongarra Main Channel. SunWater reported the incident to police and provided surveillance images.


Ben Anderson Barrage

Two members of the public were seen trespassing and fishing downstream of Ben Anderson Barrage near the fishway. They were standing beyond the handrails, near fast flowing water. SunWater staff moved them on.


South Queensland Region

Date Location Incident


Thuraggi Channel

Fishermen caught entering the Thuraggi Channel construction area. Additional signage was installed at the site.


Moolabah Weir

People caught fishing on the irrigation channel below Moolabah Weir. SunWater staff escorted them from the area.


Leslie Dam

Reports of members of the public boating on Leslie Dam during a severe storm.


Media Enquiries

SunWater Media Team
Phone: +61 7 3120 0047

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