Here we flow again at Wivenhoe
WIDESPREAD rainfall over south-east Queensland has forced authorities to again release water from Wivenhoe Dam.
South East Queensland Water Grid management yesterday announced that one of the five gates was opened at 1pm, allowing a daily average of 30,000 megalitres to gush down the Brisbane River.
The release is expected to close Twin Bridges, Colleges Crossing and Savages Crossing.
It is the first controlled release from the dam since October, when record rainfall forced the release of about 655,000 megalitres – or 262,000 Olympic swimming pools – of water over about a week.
By comparison, that release involved the opening of all five gates, with water leaving the dam at a rate of about 130,000 megalitres a day.
All south-east Queensland’s major dams had been hovering around 100 per cent capacity since heavy rainfall in early October.
Somerset Dam began releasing water into Wivenhoe Dam at noon Sunday, following heavy rainfall on the Sunshine Coast.
Water Grid spokesperson Dan Spiller said the most recent release would restore Wivenhoe to just below full supply level.
“Releases are expected to continue until towards the end of the week, depending upon any further rainfall,” Mr Spiller said.
While more showers and storms are forecast to hit Ipswich this week, it would take a significant amount of rain to force the authorities to repeat the action taken in October.
However, even with one gate out of a possible five open, the Water Grid has warned of the dangers of swimming in flooded weirs and fast-flowing waterways.
“Members of the public need to be aware of the dangers of swimming in weirs and flooded waterways. The facts are that it only takes ankle deep water to knock you off your feet, and only 60 seconds to drown,” Mr Spiller said.
“We are discouraging people from visiting Wivenhoe Dam over the next few days to view the gate openings, given how wet the area is and the forecast for further rainfall.”
Mr Spiller said all releases were being managed in accordance with approved flood management plans.
The Water Grid consulted with Ipswich, Somerset and Brisbane City Councils regarding the decision to release water from Wivenhoe Dam.
Water levels in the Lockyer River were taken into account, with the releases timed to allow sufficient time for levels downstream to drop.
Elsewhere, Hinze Dam was continuing to release about 5,000 megalitres of water per day through the outlet gates.
Several other local dams were continuing to spill.