Department Natural Resources Wide Bay Water Gate Failure

Department Natural Resources Wide Bay Water Gate Failure


Extract from recent correspondence between Minister Craig Wallace Department of Natural Resources Queensland and Member for Maroochydore Miss Fiona Simpson regarding Wide Bay Water Corporation (Queensland Local Governement Owned Corporation) located on the Fraser Coast, Hervey Bay Queensland.

This correspondence made important admissions regarding the failure of the Lenthalls Dam Gates (Wide Bay Water Corporation, Hervey Bay QLD water & severage (wastewater services) and the enhanced risk this upstream gate failure caused to upstream land holders. Hervey Bay's drinking water is taken from Lenthalls Dam via the Burrum River. This admission is more than has ever been made by Wide Bay Water Corporation, Tim Waldron CEO (Chief Executive Officer) or Peter Care Engineering Services Consultancy Manager.  Indeed the affected upstream landholders have never had so much as an apology or an admission relating to the danger they were placed in by Wide Bay Water Corporation.

The admission by Minister Craig Wallace Department of Natural Resources & Water Queensland however fails to admit that the the time of writing in December 2008 that the gates cannot be lowered manually and that Wide Bay Water Corporation and Consultants who drafted the Emergency Action Plan still do not have accurate useable contact numbers for upstream landholders in the event of Emergency.  It seems Government Agencies just do not have the power to ensure that this Queensland Local Government Corporation takes public safety with respect to Dam Safety seriously.

Hon Craig Wallace MP
Member for Thuringowa
Minister for Natural Resources
and Water and Minister Assisting
the Premier in North Queensland

Miss Fiona Simpson
Member for Maroochydore
Suite 1 Corner First and Memorial Avenue
Maroochydore QLD 4588

Dear Miss Simpson,

I refer to your letter of 13 October 2008 to the Honourable Paul Lucas MP, Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning on behalf of your constituents concerning Lenthalls Dam. The Honourable Paul Lucas MP has referred your letter to me for direct reply.

The Department of Natural Resources and Water is responsible for ensuring the safety of the State’s referable dams. These are dams where failure could have significant consequences ranging from loss of life or injury, to economic loss and damage to property and the environment. However, dam safety is ultimately the responsibility of the dam owner.

Lenthalls Dam is owned and operated by the Wide Bay Water Corporation (WBW), a local government owned corporation providing water and wastewater services to the city of Hervey Bay.

In 2007, Lenthalls Dam Storage capacity was increased by 62%. This increase was due to the installation of five automatic crest gates in the existing spillway, which raised the supply level by two metres.

A high level rainfall event in February 2008 caused the newly installed gates to be overtopped and, as a result the gates failed to operate as designed. This resulted in higher water levels upstream of the dam than would have otherwise occurred should the gates have functioned properly. This raised concerns amongst upstream landholders. A similar, although less severe event also occurred in May 2008.

The automatic crest gates were designed by South Africa firm (Flow Gate Projects) which has designed numerous similar spillway gates, operating on the same principle in southern Africa. I am advised that my department had no reason to expect that they would not operate as expected.

I am also advised that Wide Bay Water Corporation (WBW) has initiated a project aimed at replacing the bottom seals of the gates with modified seals to reduce the friction loading which prevented the automatic opening of the gates in February 2008. Arrangement are now in place for GEO Tech Engineering to start work on adjustment to the gate seals which will be progressively completed by mid January 2009.

In the meantime Wide Bay Corporation have undertaken to operate the gate manually......

Wide Bay Water Corporation acknowledge that there is a potential risk to upstream residents....."

Note the second last sentence may still not reflect the full circumstances of how inoperable Lenthalls Dam Gates are.

For the Full Article please click on the link below

9/12/08 Letter from the Honourable Craig Wallace Department of Natural Resources & Water Queensland Member for Thuringowa to Miss Fiona Simpson MP regarding Lenthals Dam Gates failure to operate (owned & operated by Wide Bay Water Corporation, Hervey Bay Queensland).


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