The Callide Dam overflows for the first time in the wake of major rainfall that has brought flooding and devastation to much of Queensland.
The Callide Dam overflows for the first time in the wake of major rainfall that has brought flooding and devastation to much of Queensland.

Callide Dam overflows

CALLIDE Dam, which previously relied on water piped from Awoonga Dam, is overflowing for the first time.

Callide Dam’s highest previous record capacity was 67.6 per cent in late January 1978.

The supply in the dam, which provides water for the Callide B and Callide C power stations and the town of Biloela, became critically low in 2007 and required Banana Shire Council to introduce water restrictions.

These became more stringent as the drought at that time worsened. In December 2009 the Callide Dam was at the extremely low level of 6.1 per cent and water security became of serious concern to the community.

Subsequent rain eventually eased the situation, but it was late December’s rain that finally filled the dam to its capacity and more.

Callide power management has a contract with SunWater to bring water to the Callide power stations from the Gladstone Area Water Board’s Awoonga Dam.

During the drought that ended with the rain brought by Cyclone Beni in early 2003, and when levels at Awoonga Dam had been plummeting, concern arose at the waste of water being delivered to the Callide Dam from seepage and evaporation.

It was estimated about 4500 megalitres (million litres) of water was being lost each year because the water was delivered by open channel for much of the distance between the two dams.

The water was being piped from Awoonga Dam to the top of the Calliope Range, but from there it ran down Stag Creek by open channel to Callide Dam.

Following calls by the community and the former Calliope Shire and Gladstone City councils to prevent the loss of valuable water the State Government decided to fund an extension of the pipeline.

The $19 million pipeline, which took nine months to construct and which was completed in late 2005, was designed to carry about 27,500 megalitres of water along the new 15km pipeline.

The total distance between the two dams is about 54km.

Callide Dam is a gated structure. If a water release is required due to significant catchment inflows it will open the gates in accordance with its dam operating procedures.

SunWater will contact all relevant local authorities to advise them of any water release.

The Callide pipeline is operated by SunWater with the capacity owned by CS Energy.



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