Wivenhoe Dam hits record high

The new Wyaralong Dam approximately 62 per cent full. That level has now jumped to 80 percent.
The new Wyaralong Dam approximately 62 per cent full. That level has now jumped to 80 percent.

THE Wivenhoe Dam yesterday hit record levels following recent weeks of near-incessant rain in the Ipswich region.

And the most recent dam to be built in the region, the Wyaralong Dam, reached 80 per cent capacity only a month after being ready to hold water.

The dam, which is south of Ipswich between Boonah and Beaudesert, held 83,133 megalitres yesterday, which is 80.7 per cent of its 103,000 megalitre capacity.

A spokesperson for the SEQ Water Grid Manager said the Wivenhoe Dam was currently about 154 per cent full, with the Somerset Dam about 158 per cent.

The drinking water level of Wivenhoe is at 100 per cent, with the remaining 40 per cent level the amount currently held for flood mitigation.

“It is the highest level the dam has been at since construction,” a spokesperson said.

In order to relieve the quickly filling flood storage compartment, controlled releases from the dam increased yesterday from 116,000 megalitres per day to 170,000 megalitres a day.

Although releases are being made, large quantities of water continue to flow into the dams and are being held back in order to manage impacts downstream.

A spokesperson said the releases were a necessity because the Wivenhoe Dam was receiving more than twice the volume of Sydney Harbour each day.

SEQ Water Grid chief executive Barry Dennien said the dam’s mitigation measures were doing their job, and release levels were being carefully monitored.

Parts of the Wyaralong Dam are still under construction, but its wall was plugged to hold water on December 17 last year.

Queensland Water Infrastructure chief executive officer Frankie Carroll said the dam had reached its current capacity after weeks of heavy rain.

“We will continue to monitor dam levels and will release water if and when required in consultation with SEQwater and the Water Grid Manager,” he said.

Mr Carroll said the Wyaralong Dam project was expected to be completed by mid-2011.

Over the next few months, as weather permits, the focus will be on finishing civil mechanical and electrical works and rehabilitating the dam site, as well as completing the extensive network of trails and recreation facilities around the dam.

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