OVERFLOW: Awoonga Dam spilling on March 31 last year.
OVERFLOW: Awoonga Dam spilling on March 31 last year. Mike Richards GLA310317LAKE

Awoonga dam level remaining high despite dry season

THE water level at Awoonga Dam remains high despite the region experiencing a "short-term" drought, according to the Gladstone Area Water Board.

Rainfall totals at the Gladstone Airport radar showed only 79.4mm of rain has fallen at the site since March 1.

While the airport is 24km north of the dam, it is the closest radar site.

"A short-term drought is similar to what is being experienced in the region this calendar year, with very dry conditions over late summer, autumn and winter," a board spokesman said.

"However, we experienced a significant flood last year (October 2017) which caused Awoonga Dam to fill and spill, with another good flow occurring in early January 2018.

"Consequently, Awoonga Dam is still relatively full, and there is no water supply shortage."

 

Awoonga Dam pictured at 118% of capacity.
Awoonga Dam pictured at 118% of capacity. Casey Christmas

Awoonga Dam was at maximum capacity on March 1 but has since dropped to 39.1 metres (92 per cent capacity) as at yesterday.

The water board said Awoonga does not reach a "low supply alert'' until it drops to 33.8m and restrictions are not introduced until it drops further to 31m.

The board classifies a long-term drought as three or more years of below average rainfall, which causes Awoonga Dam to be drawn down to a point where supply restrictions and other measures may be triggered.

The lowest level recorded at the dam was on February 4, 2003 when it was at 7.44 per cent of capacity.

However, there were many contributing factors involved to reach that figure.

"There was a sequence of relatively dry years and, more critically, without a flood or major inflow event stretching back to late 1996, Awoonga was slowly but steadily drawn down, and at no stage over that period had the opportunity to fill up or significantly recover," the board spokesman said.

"Awoonga Dam was also in the process of being raised over the period 2001 to 2003, lifting the full supply level from 30m to 40m, which made the percentage full calculation look even worse."



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