Lake Borumba discharging over the spillway, 2 days after a record flood

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On Sunday 27th January about noon, a flood peaked at just over 6M on the spillway at Borumba Dam, the highest ever recorded at the dam. The dam was built in 1963, after the even greater 1955 flood.

Torrential rain on the Conondale and Jimna Ranges resulted from a tropical depression that had earlier been Tropical Cyclone Oswald. The runoff quickly filled the dam, and rose to a new record level.

The large scour pool is evident immediately below the dam wall, and the turbidity in the usually clear lake can be seen in this oblique aerial image. Lake Borumba stores 45,952ML at full supply level.

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Comments (5)

bdeh on February 10, 2013

That's a lot of water stored behind the dam Ian. Odd that there're so many places in Oz where there's a shortage of water. Do they make pipelines to bring the surplus to other areas? Greetings Berend

Ian Stehbens on February 11, 2013

Greetings Berend,

There are very large irrigation and water storage projects in Australia, especially in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia. Adelaide, Broken Hill, and Kalgoorlie for example, all depend of long distance pipelines for their water supply.

The inland rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin all act as natural piplelines carrying water from one area to another drier area a long way away. And virtually every one of these rivers is dammed and regulated by weirs, whilst flood harvesting is also now common practice.

Borumba dam is a relatively small dam but it is used to store water for irrigation for the canefields near Maryborough, for pasture production in the Imbil-Gympie section of the Mary River, and to provide domestic water into the South East Queensland water grid that supplies water to Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.

But one must also realise that dams are problematic too, changing water temperatures in an ecosystem, changing the sediment flows and erosive capacity of streams, building false hopes in the minds of the downstream population. In our climate and scale, dams cannot control major floods. The big flood discharges are too great.

Just recently, the prolonged deluge that fell on the Burnett Catchment produced the highest flood ever experienced in Bundaberg, yet the Burnett Catchment has more dams (32, I think) in it than any other catchment in Queensland!!


bdeh on February 11, 2013

Thanks for the explanation Ian. Greetings Berend

Eva Lewitus on March 8, 2013

Very interesting... And a very lovely photo. THat light!!!! L

Ian Stehbens on March 8, 2013

Welcome to my gallery, Eva. Thanks for taking an interest in the text as well as appreciating the photos. Our atmosphere is generally very clean and therefore our sunlight is usually very bright - even intense.

Greetings from Australia,


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Photo details

  • Uploaded on February 9, 2013
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens