Water cascading over the walls for the first time since its commission after recent heavy rain took it past its 100% capacity. Photo:GARY HUTCHISON BIT par(a) 0403
Water cascading over the walls for the first time since its commission after recent heavy rain took it past its 100% capacity. Photo:GARY HUTCHISON BIT par(a) 0403

Paradise Dam overflowing

ABOUT 50,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water are set to rush towards Bundaberg after Paradise Dam started to overflow on Tuesday afternoon.

The dam reached its capacity for the first time on Friday after heavy rains fell upstream.

Inflow gauges at Jones Weir near Mundubbera confirmed about 100,000Ml of water would reach the 300,000Ml dam during the next two days.

Bureau of Meteorology senior hydrologist James Stuart said the water would make its way to Bundaberg by the weekend, where a noticeable rise in the river level would be seen.

“There will be some minor flooding along the length of the lower Burnett near the dam,” Mr Stuart said.

Petronella Campbell, who lives about 3.5km from the dam, said she saw water start to go over the dam wall at about 1.30pm on Tuesday.

“It was just a little splash here and there and the wind would blow it back and forward. They were releasing water at the same time,” she said.

“Now we can hear the roar from our place and it’s only going to get louder.”

Minor flooding has already occurred near Paradise Dam, with River Road cut at Degilbo Creek.

On Tuesday night SunWater told the NewsMail it was releasing water to prevent the dam overflowing and help save endangered lungfish.

Yesterday SunWater spokesman Glen Pfluger said Tuesday afternoon’s spill was only a trickle and not significant.

“We are currently at a stage 1 flood operation level which is at least 20,000Ml coming in a day. We are currently releasing 9200Ml a day,” Mr Pfluger said.

Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council spokesperson Emma-Kate Currie said she was worried about aquatic life caught up in the spill.

She said SunWater could have moved to prevent the overflow.

“As much as we were happy to see SunWater has tried, we believe they left it too late. They should have been releasing water on Friday,” she said.

“Our key concerns are the lungfish and turtles and other species that will be injured as they go over the dam,” she said.

WBBCC vice-president Roger Currie said he had witnessed 13 turtles go over the wall and “bounce” down the steps.

He gave Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries workers “five stars” for taking out a tinny to collect the wounded.



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