2011 – Emergency management of SunWater’s dam portfolio in the 2010-11

Robert Keogh, Rob Ayre, Peter Richardson, Barry Jeppesen, Olga Kakourakis

SunWater owns 23 referable dams and operates a further two dams for other owners. The dams are located across Queensland from Texas and St George in the South to the Atherton Tablelands in the north to Mt Isa in the west.

During the period December 2010 to February 2011 there were several significant rainfall events across Queensland. The first occurred in late December 2010, the second in mid January 2011 and third in early February 2011. Generally it was the most significant rainfall event in Queensland since the 1970’s. 22 Emergency Action Plans were activated simultaneously by SunWater. Eleven dams experienced a flood of record during the events.

This paper will discuss what has been learnt from these events including the optimisation of management structures for a dam owner with a large portfolio of dams: review of O&M Manuals including the adequacy of backup systems: relationships with the State disaster management framework: the value of rigorous communication protocols: managing fear and a general lack of understanding in the community: and the value of being prepared.

Workshop paper – Robert

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