How Dams Work
Sunwater dams are designed to hold and supply water to irrigate crops, keep industry moving and provide drinking water. Water can flow out of a dam in multiple ways – over a spillway, through an outlet or spillway gates, or from a pipeline. When a dam fills to its maximum storage level (full supply level), water flows over the spillway downstream to the river below.
Dam outlets can only release small volumes of water. They are designed to deliver water for customers when they order it and for the environment. Sunwater dams are not designed to provide downstream flood mitigation.
Cyclones and flooding
Dams are designed to pass excess water from the spillway or gates when they reach capacity. Some dams can fill and spill water quickly if there has been heavy rain in the catchment.Monitoring dam levels via the Sunwater App and website will provide insight into how much water is flowing in and out of your local dam. Check if there are any other waterways near your home and monitor river levels at bom.gov.au. Expecting flood waters to come from your local dam, could mean you miss other important flood warnings relating to a nearby creek, river or stream. Flooding can occur in the downstream river or creek even when the dam isn’t spilling water.
Being prepared for the storm season and rising water by:
- downloading the Sunwater App
- checking the Bureau of Meteorology regularly
- registering with your local council for notifications. Remember, rising water can come from many sources, so stay vigilant.
Risks after rain
Remember dam levels can continue to rise even after rainfall has stopped – monitor dam levels and be notified when your local is spilling water by downloading the free Sunwater App.
If visiting your local dam after heavy rain, look for dangers below the water’s surface such as trees, pipes and rocks. Always read the signs, check the Sunwater App for any safety notifications and proceed with caution.
Even after the storm season has ended, weather conditions can change at any moment – create your plan for heavy rain to always be prepared for rising water levels and flooding.
Sunwater - Managing Dam and Flood Emergencies
Dam savvy checklist (PDF 92KB)
How dams work during heavy rain (PDF 125.3KB)
How Sunwater dams work (PDF 153.5KB)
Get the Sunwater App!
Sunwater App brochure (PDF 3MB)