A dam is a big wall constructed across a valley to collect and control the flow of rainfall and runoff water into a catchment area, or to raise the level of water held within a catchment area.
Sunwater owns and manages 19 dams across regional Queensland. We also provide facility management and operational services to the Glenlyon Dam located in New South Wales.
Sunwater dams are designed to hold and supply water to customers for irrigation, to keep industry moving and to provide drinking water. Our dams are not designed for flood mitigation, which happens when the rate of water released from the dam is less than the water flowing into the dam from the catchment and rainfall.
Sunwater operates both gated and ungated dams:
- ungated dams use a spillway and outlet to release water downstream. When an ungated dam reaches its maximum storage level, excess water will naturally flow over the spillway and continue into the downstream rivers
- gated dams have spillway gates which are positioned in the dam wall and will progressively open as the dam level rises and close as the dam level reduces.
To learn more about how our dams operate, view the How Sunwater dams work resource.
Weirs and barrages
Sunwater owns and manages 64 weirs and barrages across regional Queensland.
A weir is a structure built across a river or a creek to regulate water flow. It holds back the flow of water so it can be stored and released downstream when it’s needed.
A barrage is a structure commonly built across a wide river which consists of gates that can be opened or closed to control the amount of water passing through the structure. It holds back the flow of water so it can be stored and released downstream when it’s needed.
The difference between a dam and weir is that weirs are generally smaller in size and have an opening usually on the side to release water when required. Generally, a dam holds significantly more water than a weir as dams are built across a large river valley to form deep water storage, whereas weirs are built across a river or creek.
Sunwater operates two types of storages; balancing storages and offstream storages.
A balancing storage is a storage within a distribution system or a pipeline that’s used to balance inflows and outflows of water.
An offstream storage is generally constructed from earth and rockfill outside the bed and banks of the water courses and used to store water by pumping from the adjacent water course.
A pipeline is a series of pipes connected over long distances which help shift and deliver manageable, sustainable, reliable and consistent water supply for industrial, mining, irrigation and urban use.