In the wake of a magnitude 3.6 earthquake near Warragamba on March 8, 2024, WaterNSW showcased its rapid response capabilities. The seismic event, occurring beneath the Blue Mountains National Park in New South Wales, Australia, prompted the dam operator to activate its emergency protocols swiftly. 

Ronan Magaharan, Executive Manager Operations at WaterNSW said: “Although it’s rare to feel earth tremors, they do happen across NSW, and seismic activity is one of the many parameters our teams monitor utilising a combination of ‘felt reports’ and data received from the Geoscience Australia monitoring network.”

The Warragamba Dam Safety Team promptly conducted comprehensive safety checks, adhering to WaterNSW's Dam Safety Emergency Plan. Visual inspections and sensor readings were carried out to evaluate the structural integrity of the dam and surrounding infrastructure.

“This tremor was well within the tolerances of our dams, so fortunately, in line with our expectations for a smaller seismic event such as this, our teams detected no changes to any of the infrastructure,. It was therefore determined there was no immediate threat or risk to the surrounding community,” Magaharan said.

Following the earthquake, precautionary inspections were conducted at Warragamba Dam, Prospect Reservoir, and other relevant sites, as part of WaterNSW's proactive approach to managing risks.

Recognizing the evolving challenges posed by natural phenomena, Magaharan reiterated WaterNSW's commitment to addressing future seismic events: “Our teams are experts in keeping our dams and the community safe and are well-equipped to respond to the next inevitable weather event, protecting our state’s essential source of water now and into the future.”

Warragamba Dam, taken by Peter Bertok. From Wikimedia Commons