Wivenhoe Dam was built on the Brisbane River, approximately 80 kilometres from Brisbane. It was designed by the Water Resources Commission and built in 1984.
The dam was built for the dual purposes of providing a safe and reliable water supply for the region and for flood mitigation.
Wivenhoe Dam has a total storage capacity of 3.132 million megalitres. At full supply level, it will hold 1.165 million megalitres, or about 2,000 times the daily water consumption of Brisbane.
During a flood, Wivenhoe is designed to hold back a further 1.967 million megalitres as well as its normal storage capacity of 1.165 million megalitres. Floods may still occur in the Ipswich and Brisbane areas but they will be rarer in occurrence. Wivenhoe’s flood control facility, together with the existing flood mitigation effect of Somerset Dam, will substantially reduce the heights of relatively small floods. It is anticipated that during a large flood similar in magnitude to that experienced in 1974, by using the mitigation facility within Wivenhoe Dam, flood levels will be reduced downstream by an estimated two metres.
Read our fact sheet How dams work for more information.
If you would like to be notified about releases from Wivenhoe Dam, please sign up to our free dam release notification service.
Dam optimisation studies
The Department of Energy and Water Supply has announced the new flood mitigation strategies for the operation of Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine dams, as a result of the optimisation studies and public consultation.
In April 2014, the department released the Wivenhoe and Somerset Dam Optimisation Study and the North Pine Dam Optimisation Study for public discussions. The studies were completed in response to the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry to investigate potential alternative operations of the existing dams during floods.
More information on the Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams Optimisation Study or the North Pine Dam Optimisation Study is available on the Department of Energy and Water Supply website. View our updated manuals of operational procedures for flood mitigation for Wivenhoe Dam and Somerset Dam, and North Pine Dam.
Lake Wivenhoe is a very popular recreation destination, with a wide variety of activities and facilities available. There are a number of recreation areas at the lake, including Logan’s Inlet, Hamon Cove and Cormorant Bay.
Stop off points
- We have recently established two designated stop off points for boats and paddle craft. The stop off points are only accessible from the water and are located at McKeys Hill to the northeastof the lake and McGraths Bay in the south-west. Each rest area has a picnic table, rubbish bin and toilet for the convenience of visitors. Signage and a buoy on the water have been installed Download the stop off point map for more information.
- Download our new A3 map of Wivenhoe Dam [6MB] to take with you or pick one up at the Wivenhoe Information Centre, Fernvale Futures Centre, Esk Visitor Information Centre or Kilcoy Information Centre.
- Download the Wivenhoe Hill Trails guide for information about the 16km multi-use trail and a trail network map.The trails offer spectacular views of Lake Wivenhoe to mountain bike riders, horse riders, walkers and trail runners. The Wivenhoe Hill Trail entrance is located off Fig Tree Road, via the Hay Road exit on the Brisbane Valley Highway.
- The Lake Wivenhoe Recreation Guide also has detailed information about all activities, as well as maps and important safety information.
- Restricted power boating is permitted on Lake Wivenhoe - download our FAQ for power boats on Lake Wivenhoe.
- Vessels are not to exceed 6 knots. If your vessels is on the plane, you’re going too fast!
- Vessels must be low-emission outboards/engines. This limits motors to four strokes or direct fuel-injected two strokes
- Permits are required for boating on Lake Wivenhoe. A SIPS permit is required for fishing at Lake Wivenhoe. Visit the Fisheries website for information and to purchase your permit.
Wivenhoe Dam houses a pumped-storage, hydro-electric generating facility. This power station is situated between Splityard Creek Dam and Lake Wivenhoe.
During the pumping phase in the operating cycle the generator will operate as an electric motor driving the pump to lift water from Lake Wivenhoe to the upper storage of Splityard Creek Dam. When peak electricity demand occurs the flow of water is reversed, flowing from the upper to the lower storage and driving the turbine generator to generate electricity.
The pumped storage power station consists of two circular concrete silos, each of about 32 metres internal diameter. Each of the silos house a 250MW turbine generator and pump set.
The power station is unmanned and is controlled remotely from the central operating centre for the Queensland power grid system. All aspects of the operation are monitored by computers within the centre. Twin 275KV transmission lines connect the power station to the State’s grid system.