Wivenhoe prepares for Yasi

Wivenhoe Dam
Wivenhoe Dam

OPERATORS of the Wivenhoe Dam are ready to release water to take the reservoir below its current 100 per cent capacity level as Queensland braces for one of the largest cyclones in its history.

Seqwater said the measure – which was unheard of when the dam languished in drought – would be considered should more rain hit our region.

The news comes as officials warn Cyclone Yasi could bring increased rainfall to the south-east after it crosses the north Queensland coast on Thursday.

Premier Anna Bligh yesterday warned the cyclone “may well be one of the largest and most significant cyclones that we've ever had to deal with.”

But Seqwater spokesman Mike Foster said there was no rush to decide whether to bring the dam under the 100 per cent drinking water level.

“Certainly one of the options being looked at – and not the only option being looked at – is reducing flood storage levels so we would be effectively starting a flood event at a lower level,” Mr Foster said.

He said the results of modelling would be given to the Department of Environment and Resource Management to make a decision.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said he hoped water authorities would work closely with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) to make the right decision.

Cr Pisasale said dam operators should do everything in their power to ensure floods did not hit Ipswich again.

Cyclone Yasi will be a category three or four cyclone when it crosses the coast on Thursday morning.

Queensland Police district disaster co-ordinator Peter Martin warned residents in the south-east not to be complacent.

“We do live in the tropics and the sub-tropics and equally cyclones can impact the south-east corner of Queensland,” he said.

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