Open day marks Fairbairn Dam’s 50-year milestone

Fairbairn Dam

Emerald residents are invited to join in the birthday celebrations for one of their community’s most important assets at Fairbairn Dam on Saturday 21 May 2022.

Queensland’s second largest dam, which turns 50 this year, will be hosting an open day to recognise its integral role in the growth and development of the region.

Minister for Water Glenn Butcher said Fairbairn Dam had provided a wide range of community benefits since it was completed in 1972.

“From enabling the growth of irrigated farming to the expansion of the mining sector, the dam has contributed significantly to the economic growth of central Queensland for five decades,” he said.

“It has helped boost the production of cotton, citrus, grapes, wheat, sorghum, maize, oats, barley and sunflowers, creating jobs and delivering positive flow-on benefits to the community.

“The dam has also provided a more reliable water supply to Emerald – which has grown from 3,000 residents to 13,000 since 1972 – as well as supporting the towns of Blackwater, Bluff, Tieri, Dysart and Middlemount.

“While this anniversary is a good opportunity to reflect on what the dam has given the community, it is also a reminder that it will continue to underpin economic development for many years to come.”

Located 25 kilometres south of Emerald, Fairbairn Dam is a popular destination for boating, camping, and fishing.

Hosted by Sunwater and Central Highlands Regional Council, the open day provides a great opportunity for people to learn about how dams work, staying safe on and around water storages, and how to prepare for weather events and potential emergencies.

Sunwater CEO Glenn Stockton said the family-friendly day will bring together valued community services including the Queensland Fire, Emergency, Ambulance and Police services, the Rural Fire Brigade and a range of community and neighbourhood groups.

“We would encourage everyone to come out to the dam, learn about its history and the role it plays in supporting business and industry, and also as an important recreation asset,” he said.

“Sunwater’s local Fairbairn Dam team will be on hand to share stories about the dam’s operation and chat with attendees about the critical role dams and waterways play in regional economies.”

Working closely with the council and community groups, the open day aims to create an inclusive and relaxed atmosphere while imparting useful information to educate attendees.

Live music and a free sausage sizzle, as well as complimentary kids’ activities will keep attendees well-fed and entertained on the day, while a free bus will also provide guided group tours of the dam.

This event will be followed by another 50th birthday for one of Queensland’s dams, with EJ Beardmore Dam at St George celebrating the milestone in June 2022.

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