The Reality of Dams

2 months ago
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We have more dams in Australia than anywhere else in the world

Australia is the driest inhabited continent. The large number and size of water storages is because we are an arid country with highly variable rainfall. There are more than 800 major dams in Australia. We have 26 of them here in South East Queensland.

  • Our newest dam is Wyaralong, in the Scenic Rim, which was completed in 2011.
  • Our largest dam is Wivenhoe, which can store a whopping 1.165 million megalitres of water
  • Baroon Pocket Dam is the largest dam on the Sunshine Coast, which holds 61,000 megalitres.
  • If we were to pour all the combined water from the Sunshine Coast's drinking water dams into Wivenhoe, it would only fill Wivenhoe to about 8% of its drinking water capacity.

Need more water? Just build more dams!

While we’ve relied on dams in the past, and they’ve served us well, dams can only store water if it rains when and where we need it to. All the prime locations for dams in this region have generally already been snapped up.

Unlike diamonds, dams are not forever

Many of our dams were built more than fifty years ago (some even earlier). We regularly monitor and assess our dams and some have been identified for upgrades, so that they continue working as they should. But most dams only have a life expectancy of 50 – 100 years.

On the Sunshine Coast, Baroon Pocket is the baby of the bunch, having been completed in 1988. Wappa Dam (1963), Lake Macdonald (1965), Ewen Maddock (1976) and Cooloolabin (1979) were all built nearly 40 years ago.

Lake Macdonald will undergo a major upgrade in the next four years. We will complete the second stage of the Ewen Maddock upgrade - the first stage was completed in 2012. Upgrades of Wappa and Cooloolabin have been completed.