Low water levels increase safety risk at Queensland waterways

Kroombit dam

Recreational dam and lake users are being urged to remain aware of potential dangers this summer as drought conditions continue across much of regional Queensland.

With lower than usual water levels at many of Sunwater’s water storages, submerged hazards and shallow water may present a serious safety risk.

The warning comes ahead of an expected hot and dry holiday season, with thousands of Queenslanders expected to make the most of recreational waterways.

Sunwater Chief Executive Officer Nicole Hollows encouraged water users to keep safety top-of-mind when visiting a dam, lake or weir.

“While there’s plenty of fun to be had, caution should always be exercised when using watercourses recreationally,” she said.

“The water may look still and calm but can be dangerous and unpredictable.

“The threat of exposed and submerged hazards, shallow water and blue-green algae increases as dam levels drop.”

Most injuries around waterways are caused by a combination of being in unauthorised areas, excess alcohol consumption and not boating to conditions.

“There are four key safety tips we encourage everyone to follow,” Ms Hollows said. “Always read the signs, be aware of your surroundings, proceed with caution and keep at least 200 metres away from dam and weir walls.

“Whether a dam or weir is full, or empty, hazards, such as tree stumps and rocks are always present. When it comes to boating, it remains the skipper’s responsibility to be aware of the risks associated with operating their vessel on the lake.”

Regional Queenslanders can check local dam levels, safety alerts and key information about recreational areas on the new Sunwater App and the Sunwater website – www.sunwater.com.au

Sunwater understands the significant pressure drought conditions are having on the community and is working to best deliver water in a way that minimises loss and maximises availability.

Sunwater works with Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) to monitor water levels and identify risks and hazards. This information, including any boating speed limit restrictions and changes to dam/lake closure times, can be found the MSQ website (www.msq.qld.gov.au).

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