Maraboon Power Boat and Ski Club President Shane Jensen hopes more water fills Fairbairn Dam in 2021. Photo: file.
Maraboon Power Boat and Ski Club President Shane Jensen hopes more water fills Fairbairn Dam in 2021. Photo: file.

CQ ski club looking up as new year rain breaks the long dry

A Central Queensland water ski club is hoping for a better year in 2021 after seeing Fairbairn Dam water levels rise more than five per cent over the new year period.

Maraboon Power Boat and Ski Club president Shane Jensen said it was a sign of better things to come.

“Everyone feels good about [the water rise],” he said.

“It’s a sign of better things to come.

“The water hasn’t come up enough to use the boat ramp but if it keeps going that might change.”

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Mr Jensen said it had been a nice change to see the water level rise after a continual decline over the past few years.

He said the low levels made it difficult for the club, creating more maintenance work and a major decline in club memberships.

Club members have had to ensure all regrowth around the water’s edge has been maintained to ensure there were no underwater hazards when the water eventually rose.

“When we got to 7.7 per cent, only the people who built the dam would know what’s under the water because its never been that low, so a lot of people were worried about underwater hazards,” Mr Jensen said.

Emerald’s Fairbairn Dam. Photo: file
Emerald’s Fairbairn Dam. Photo: file

According to SunWater, Fairbairn Dam was sitting at 13.8 per cent capacity or 179,816mL at 9.50am on January 20 – a constant water level since it peaked on January 15.

When the dam levels rose, Central Highlands Regional Council announced Emerald, Blackwater and Bluff were reduced to level 1 water restrictions from January 15.

But eased restrictions may not last too long, with no decent rainfall forecast for the catchment area for the rest of January.

However, locals were enjoying the water rise, with a noticeable increase in boats using the dam, Mr Jensen said.

He is hoping for another 65cm of water, which would allow members of the ski club to use the private boat ramp rather than the public access.

He said ease of access would most likely boost memberships at the club sign-on in May.

“I think [if we can use the boat ramp] we’ll see some memberships come back,” Mr Jensen said.

“Some people want to have club breakups out there, which would be great, bringing other people to the region.

“If we don’t have water that might not go ahead.”

It would also allow competitive skiers to get back to training regularly, without having to travel to Blackwater’s Bedford Weir.

Mr Jensen said it was great to have everything looking green again around Emerald and the Fairbairn Dam picnic area.


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