Sunwater’s focus throughout extreme weather events is to ensure our dams are managed safely, in accordance with our Emergency Action Plans (EAP), and to communicate effectively with local authorities and residents about dam outflows.
Sunwater, the Bureau of Meteorology, Local Disaster Management Groups and government agencies all have a role to play in managing flood and dam emergencies in our state. Watch the below video to learn how we all work together to keep our communities safe and find the Sunwater dam EAPs, siren maps and flood maps further below.
Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
What is an Emergency Action Plan?
Sunwater has an EAP in place for each of its referable dams; a dam that would put two or more people in danger if it was to fail. The plans are used to identify and manage dam risks and hazards, such as a flood or earthquake, and to guide Sunwater’s actions to minimise risks to the residents downstream of a dam.
EAPs are approved by the Queensland
Government and enable dam owners, local government and disaster management
groups (LDMG) to coordinate an emergency response, enact disaster management
plans and provide evacuation information when required.
When Sunwater notifies the council and LDMG
of a dam risk or hazard, the LDMG is responsible for emergency management
aspects including managing evacuations, coordinating disaster response, and deploying
resources and recovery while Sunwater is responsible for sending notifications and emergency
warning triggers to downstream residents who are likely to be impacted by a dam
By working together, all parties ensure community safety is the number one priority during flood or dam emergencies. Watch the below video to learn more about Emergency Action Plans.
How to understand an Emergency Action Plan
Sunwater’s EAPs follow four
main levels of action and notification to downstream residents of dams. These levels
Within each of these levels, Sunwater has additional triggers upon which further communication is sent to keep downstream residents of dams informed.
If you live downstream of a Sunwater dam, ensure you will receive emergency communication from Sunwater by registering your details on the Sunwater Emergency Notification Service page, here.
Sunwater has dam emergency sirens installed at six locations
across Queensland, including Biloela, Coringa, Inglewood, North Eton, Pinnacle
and Emerald. Exact dam locations are shown in the table below.
In the highly unlikely event of a dam failure, the sirens will sound ensuring downstream communities receive urgent warning alerts. Siren warnings are in addition to existing Sunwater, council and Local Disaster Management Group emergency notifications.
Sirens will only be activated if an Emergency Action Plan
has been triggered for dam failure (either expected or underway). They will not
be activated in the event of water releases or downstream flooding.
There is already a strict safety management program in place to ensure dams are managed and maintained to industry standards. The sirens are part of a broader effort to continually improve our emergency management processes and supplement the many ways residents will be notified of an emergency that could result in dam failure.
Dam failure is the physical collapse of all or part of a dam
or the uncontrolled release of large volumes of water. Dam failures
are extremely rare. There has only been one instance in Australia in the
past 90 years.
Causes of dam failure might include:
large earthquakes that cause the dam wall and embankments to crack
erosion of the surrounding land
third party interference, e.g. terrorism or a high energy impact.
What will the siren sound like?
The siren will be activated in two parts; a Standard
Emergency Warning Signal sound followed by the following voice announcement:
“Dam emergency, dam emergency, this is not a drill. ACT NOW.”
What you need to do if you hear the siren
While dam failure is highly unlikely, flood water from a dam
failure can be unpredictable. If you hear a dam emergency siren sound, you will
need to act immediately. Evacuate as quickly as possible to a safe place.
Remember, if you hear the siren:
check your phone for alerts advising of dam failure and actions required
ensure everyone at your property is aware of the warning and advice provided
activate your household emergency plan and keep your mobile phone with you at all times
head away from low lying areas if you cannot get to the suggested safe areas in time
check on neighbours and friends who may need special assistance along the way.
Read the transcript of the “What do I need to do if I hear a dam emergency siren?” video. here.
Warning system details and location
Siren at Inglewood
‘Road Subject to Flooding’ signs at Dam Access Road