Storage level reduced at Paradise Dam to aid stability work

24 September 2019

The storage level of Paradise Dam near Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia, is being reduced ahead of the 2019/20 wet season, allowing works to proceed to improve the dam’s stability during extreme rain events.

Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the decision to release water has not been made lightly with the ongoing drought and water supply issues in other Queensland communities.

“Sunwater is already releasing water from the dam downstream to be stored in the Ned Churchward Weir and Ben Anderson Barrage. Work to lower the spillway can then start after the wet season,” said Dr Lynham. “Importantly, none of this will affect water supply for irrigators or the town of Bundaberg. The water that’s being released will be free, including for trucking to other areas.

“In the meantime, Building Queensland will assess and report by February on options to ensure water security for the region for future economic growth and to maintain community safety.

“The Inspector General of Emergency Management will undertake an independent review into the dam’s preparedness for a future significant flood event.”

Sunwater Chairman Leith Boully said as part of the dam improvement program investigation, issues were identified that required works to be undertaken immediately.

“To address these issues, Sunwater will seek tenders by November so work can start on site by May next year to lower the dam spillway by five metres,” she said.

Paradise Dam has a full supply volume of about 300,000 megalitres of water. It is currently at 75 per cent capacity holding about 215,000 ML. Of that, about 20 per cent is used by irrigators, miners and the town of Bundaberg.

A total of 105,000 megalitres will be released over 10 weeks to reduce the dam to 42 per cent of capacity. Of that about a quarter will be stored downstream in the Ned Churchward Weir and Ben Anderson Barrage. The remaining amount (about 80,000 megalitres) will be available free over the 10-week release period.

Sunwater will call tenders by November for construction works to lower the spillway by five metres. These works are expected to take until the end of 2021 and will create about 80 jobs.

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