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Fairbairn Dam Improvement Project

The Fairbairn Dam Improvement Project commenced in 2016 after routine inspections detected inefficiencies in the original spillway drainage system.

The project will ensure the long term viability of the dam, established in 1972, by bringing its infrastructure into line with current design standards.

Stage one was completed in December 2016, with stage two commencing in April 2017 and stage three mid-2018.

What’s involved?

Stage two will replicate work completed in stage one on the next section of the spillway including the:

  • modification of drain outlets
  • repair and replacement of blocked drains
  • replacement of steel anchors
  • filling of any voids under the concrete slabs of the spillway
  • construction of a mass reinforced concrete overlay to accommodate steel anchors.

Stage three involves the:

  • removal of original sidewall panels
  • installation of new reinforced panels with solid foundations to facilitate installation of a new gravity wall
  • construction of a new gravity wall to help channel future outflows and relieve sidewall pressure.

Major milestones

  • Stage one works started in April 2016 and were completed in December 2016
  • Stage two works are scheduled for completion in late 2020, weather permitting
  • Stage three works are scheduled for completion by late 2020, weather permitting.


Fairbairn Dam, Central Queensland
Approximately 17km south-west of Emerald