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Fairbairn Dam Improvement Project

3D model of Stage 3 Works
Fairbairn Dam
Fairbairn Dam

SunWater is undertaking the Fairbairn Dam Improvement Project to ensure the long-term viability of the dam in line with current design standards. Click here to read more about SunWater’s Dam Improvement Program.

Project Overview

The Fairbairn Dam Improvement Project (Stage 1 and Stage 2) is being undertaken after routine inspections detected the original spillway drainage system was no longer functioning efficiently.

Stage 3 works were added during a comprehensive dam risk assessment in December 2017 to improve long-term viability of the dam sidewalls.

Improvement works will ensure the dam can continue to function as designed.


Stage 1 works included:

  • the modification of drain outlets
  • the repair and replacement of blocked drains
  • the replacement of the steel anchors
  • the filling of any voids under the concrete slabs of the spillway
    the construction of a mass reinforced concrete overlay to accommodate the steel anchors.

Stage 2 works include the same activities undertaken as Stage 1, but undertaken on a different section of the spillway.

Stage 3 works will include:

  • the staged removal of original sidewall panels
  • installation of new reinforced panels with solid foundations to facilitate installation of a new gravity wall
  • construction of a new gravity wall which will help channel future outflows and relieve sidewall pressure.

Project Duration

Stage 1 works started in April 2016 and were completed in December 2016.

Stage 2 works started in April 2017 and are scheduled for completion in late 2020, weather permitting.

Stage 3 works started in mid-2018 and are scheduled for completion by late 2020, weather permitting.


Fairbairn Dam is approximately 17 kilometres south-west of Emerald and 270 kilometres west of Rockhampton in Central Queensland.

Our Role

Design and construction.