Fairbairn Dam, Emerald, was sitting at 21 per cent capacity on March 22, 2021. Photo: Kristen Booth
Fairbairn Dam, Emerald, was sitting at 21 per cent capacity on March 22, 2021. Photo: Kristen Booth

CQ dam rising with more water on its way, experts reveal

Emerald’s Fairbairn Dam has surpassed 20 per cent capacity for the first time since 2019, with experts expecting levels to continue rising.

Recent rainfall across the region has reached the Emerald dam, pushing it upwards of 21 per cent as of 12pm on Monday, March 22.

The last time Fairbairn Dam’s capacity was more than 20 per cent was in July 2019, before it dropped to below eight per cent in December 2020.

“It is promising to see good rainfall across Central Queensland and Sunwater is pleased some landholders in the region will have received water for their storages,” a Sunwater spokesman said.

“Importantly, Fairbairn Dam near Emerald, which has been experiencing low levels, has received much-needed inflows which we expect to continue in coming days.”

Since March 14, the dam has risen 75,000 megalitres to almost 276,620 megalitres or 21.26 per cent capacity.

Fairbairn Dam, Emerald.
Fairbairn Dam, Emerald.

“Due to observed rainfall in the catchment, the dam is likely to receive additional inflows in coming days – potentially up to 25,000 megalitres,” the spokesman said.

“This may increase should there be any additional rainfall over the coming days.”

The increased water level has led Sunwater to review announced water allocations for the Nogoa Mackenzie Water Supply Scheme.

“Sunwater understands how important water security is for customers in Emerald and the surrounding regions,” he said.

“Announced allocations for the Nogoa Mackenzie Water Supply Scheme will be reviewed today (March 22) and communicated by Tuesday, March 23 to account for recent inflows.

“Water allocations are set at the start of the water year and cannot decrease as dam capacity levels reduce. Should inflows occur however, allocations can increase – to a maximum of 100 per cent.

“Allocations for the next water year will be announced in July 2021.”

The increase comes after large amounts of rainfall were recorded across the region, including more than 200mm in parts of the Gemfields, causing flash flooding which led to evacuations.

Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for parts of the Central Highlands on Monday, which is expected to bring more heavy rainfall and potentially some flash flooding.


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