Emergency Management

Emergency Management

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 emergency.  

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 are:

  • Alert
  • Lean Forward
  • Stand Up
  • Stand Down

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.

Dam Emergency Action Plans

Callide Dam

Callide Valley Flood Review resources

Flood facts

Shortlisted options

Modelling of Callide Valley flood inundation during TC Marcia

GIS file for media outlets

GIS files can be provided to media outlets on request. Please contact [email protected]

Kroombit Dam

Callide Valley Flood Review resources

Flood facts

Shortlisted options

Modelling of Callide Valley flood inundation during TC Marcia

GIS file for media outlets

GIS files can be provided to media outlets on request. Please contact [email protected]

Flood Maps

Many councils across Australia provide access to flood maps which are especially useful when it comes to building infrastructure and understanding floodplains.

These flood maps help identify the chance of flooding on rural and agricultural land and evacuation routes in the case of a flood event.

View the FloodCheck Map, 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

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:

  • act immediately
  • 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.

Siren locations

Dam Warning system details and location Siren Map
Coolmunda Dam Siren at Inglewood

‘Road Subject to Flooding’ signs at Dam Access Road
View Map
Callide Dam 2 x sirens at Biloela View Map
Teemburra Dam Siren at Saddle Dam (near Pinnacle) View Map
Kinchant Dam Siren, camera and ‘Road Subject to Flooding’ signs at Antony’s Road View Map
Paradise Dam Siren at Paradise Dam
Siren approximately 7.5 km downstream of Paradise Dam
‘Road Subject to Flooding’ signs at Booyal Crossing
View Map
Fairbairn Dam 2 x sirens at Emerald View Map

Fast facts

  • the sirens are 14 metres high and feature audio equipment, a power source and telecommunications
  • once active, automatic silent tests will be performed on the sirens weekly
  • within the three-kilometre radius, a siren’s volume ranges from 70-110 decibels (a vacuum cleaner is 70 decibels and a car horn from one metre away is about 110 decibels)
  • the sirens are solar powered with battery back-up and can run for up to 24 hours once activated