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Connected residents will be supplied primarily from North Pine Water Treatment Plant which draws water from North Pine Dam's storage 2.JPG

North Pine Dam Improvement Project

North Pine Dam is one of several dams to be upgraded as part of Seqwater's Dam Improvement Program.

Planning for the dam improvement project is underway.

The upgrade will increase North Pine Dam's capacity to withstand extreme floods.

The required upgrades reflect advances in dam design, as well as updated safety guidelines and engineering standards since the dam was built in 1976.

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Home What We're Doing North Pine Dam Improvement Project

Seqwater is currently undertaking an Options Analysis to carefully assess the improvement options for North Pine Dam.

The improvements will increase the dam’s capability to withstand extreme flood events and continue to perform safely and protect downstream populations.

The preferred design option is likely to include raising the dam wall, raising the saddle dams and upgrading the spillway and gates.

Reduced Full Supply Level

While the Dam Improvement Program is underway, North Pine Dam is operating with a reduced full supply level.

This is an industry-accepted practice to manage dam safety and demonstrates commitment to the ongoing safety of dam infrastructure.

South East Queensland has a safe, reliable and resilient water supply system, stemming from careful and ongoing water security planning and a diverse asset base which allows Seqwater to supplement supply in a timely way when needed.

The reduced level does not significantly impact the long-term water supply security for the region.

Periodic reviews will continue until the dam is upgraded to ensure dam safety, water supply and long-term water security are appropriately managed.

When inflows from rainfall occur in the future, there will be flood releases if the lake level is expected to exceed 36.0 metres AHD (68% of its original water storage capacity).

 

Any future flood releases will continue to be managed in accordance with the 2019 Flood Mitigation Manual for North Pine Dam.

The reduced full supply level is not expected to impact the long-term water supply security for South East Queensland.

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  • Aerial of North Pine Dam

    Geotechnical investigations underway

    Geotechnical investigations will be conducted to understand the type and strength of ground conditions (soil and rock). This information will assist to better understand the foundation of the dam and its structural integrity. The geotechnical investigations are expected to progressively occur from late October 2023 to early 2024.
     

    The geotechnical investigations are expected to progressively occur from late October to early 2024, between 6.30am and 6.30pm on weekdays, weather and conditions permitting, at the following locations:

    • on the North Pine Dam wall
    • near McGavin View Park, on Vores Road
    • near Forgan Cove, Forgan Road
    • near Forgan Park, Forgan Road
    • near Tukuwompa Park, Forgan Road.

    Residents and visitors can expect to see an increased number of workers around the lake and local area, as well as:

    • Traffic control: residents may experience changes to traffic flow and short-term traffic disruptions. Please follow the directions of traffic controllers and signage onsite.
    • Minor noise and possible dust and vibration may be experienced.
    • Access: visitors to park locations may be limited at times for public safety.
    North Pine - wildlife hollows

    Local wildlife re-settle in prime real estate at Lake Samsonvale

    Just like home buyers and investors in Brisbane’s housing market, local wildlife are also moving into prime real estate, taking advantage of man-made hollows at Lake Samsonvale.

    As part of Seqwater’s North Pine Solids Storage Area upgrade project, a number of nest boxes have been constructed to encourage and enhance the local wildlife population.

    Seqwater Senior Project Manager Matt Malos said the work was done to offset some tree clearing required to undertake improvement works to upgrade Seqwater’s operational areas to current industry standards.

    The nest boxes were innovatively constructed using the cleared site tree branches and trunks, or where possible cut directly into suitable trees.

    Since completion of the project a year ago, recent inspections had found extremely positive sightings, with local wildlife such as possums, sugar gliders as well as cockatoos and parrots taking up residence 

    “Each of the hollows and nests were purpose-built to attract native animals so it’s pleasing to see them being used,” Mr Malos said.

    “More than 80% of these installations we provided are now occupied by wildlife.”

    After assisting on the project, specialised artisan habitat tree company Habi-tec are now working with Seqwater on another wildlife initiative in the area.

    Mr Malos said five very large hollows that had remained unused within the stockpile area, because they were too large to install as nest boxes were instead being donated to improve quoll conservation “We sought approval from Moreton Bay Regional Council to relocate these hollows and have subsequently contributed them to The Bulimba Creek and Catchment Group who are constructing quoll habitats at Mount Barney to replace those lost in bushfires,” Mr Malos said.

    A Lungfish is released back into the mid-Brisbane River after being documented a part of an on-going study by Seqwater

    Ancient fish species swimming strong in mid-Brisbane River

    Populations of one of Australia’s most ancient and vulnerable fish species are swimming strong in the mid-Brisbane River.

    As part of a long-term environmental initiative, South East Queensland bulk water supplier, Seqwater, has been monitoring and documenting Australian lungfish populations in various SEQ waterways for more than a decade.

    Seqwater Senior Scientist, Dr David Roberts, said lungfish were ancient creatures that had remained unchanged for more than 100 million years – pre-dating the dinosaurs.

    Dr Roberts said lungfish were named as such because,  unlike most fish that only get their oxygen by passing water through their gills, lungfish have developed lungs which allowed them to breath air as well.

    However, despite their longevity and their evolutionary adaptations, Dr Roberts said lungfish are listed as a vulnerable species that are negatively affected by a range of factors, including degraded habitats, that could affect breeding success.

    Dr Roberts said he had been monitoring lungfish numbers for the past 10 years and the data showed the population of lungfish in the mid-Brisbane river was stable over this period.

    “We monitor lungfish downstream of our dams as barriers to movement and altered flow regimens downstream of these dams have the potential to adversely affect lungfish and their habitats and we want to make sure this isn’t happening,” Dr Roberts said.

    “Our research is telling us that populations of lungfish are stable and while their habitats change year to year from droughts and floods, lungfish live for around 70 years, so they have the ability to wait out the bad years for when conditions improve again”.

    “We know a lot about what lungfish need to breed and we are embarking on programs to improve the quality of the breeding habitats so that lungfish populations remain healthy”.

    “All our research is being used to develop a population model for this species so we can make sure populations remain healthy long into the future.”

    In order to conduct the research, Dr Roberts said Seqwater uses electrofishing technology to safely catch the fish, record their details and release them back into the water, unharmed.

    “Electrofishing involves passing an electrical current through water, which temporarily immobilises the fish while causing them no harm, so they can be netted and processed,” Dr Roberts said.

    “We check the fish for previous microchip tags we placed on them during earlier research and record details such as length and weight. If the fish is one we haven’t caught before, we insert one of these tags so we can begin tracking it.”

    Dr Roberts said recent genetic studies had concluded the lungfish found in the Brisbane River were likely to have been brought here from the Mary River.

    “Back in the 1890s,lungfish were spread around different rivers across parts of south east Queensland to increase their chances of surviving long-term,” Dr Roberts said.

    “The future for Australian Lungfish is looking pretty good, as a protected species and global natural treasure, we want to do as much as we can to make sure it stays around for good.”

    Australian Lungfish facts:

    ·         They are a very large freshwater fish, growing up to 1.5 metres in length.

    ·         Unlike the African and South American lungfish, the Australian lungfish only has one lung.  It can survive brief periods out of the water and withstand poor water quality allowing it to survive in severe drought conditions.

    ·         They are one of the first animals to evolve true enamel on their teeth, like humans have.

    ·         Lungfish are known as lobe-finned fish because of their fleshy limb-like fins that contain bones resembling the limbs of land animals.

    ·         All land animals on earth (including humans) are thought to have evolved from an ancient form of Lungfish.

    ·         They can live for a long time, with the oldest fish found in the wild being 72 years, and one Australian lungfish surviving for well over 90 years in captivity.

    ·         They are mostly omnivorous, eating a wide range of foods from snails and mussels, frogs, tadpoles, invertebrates and some plants.

    ·         They are one of the oldest living species on earth, with fossils resembling modern lungfish dating back over 100 million years.  In fact, scientists knew about the lungfish through fossils well before living lungfish were discovered by modern scientists in the Burnett River in 1870

    Image
    An Australian Lungfish is weighed and measured
     An unnamed healthy koala photographed at Joyner in May 2020 (R) Bernie the koala who was rescued in Byrnes Rd Nth in December 2019

    Safe haven for koalas established at North Pine Dam

    More than 7000 koala habitat trees have been planted near the North Pine Dam and Water Treatment Plant, in an effort to protect the local koala population from operational sites.

    The initiative is part of Seqwater’s North Pine Vegetation Management and Fencing Project, which aims to remove invasive weeds from a 15-hectare parcel of land in Brisbane’s north and replace with native tree species.

    Seqwater Senior Project Manager Matt Malos said planting the trees would provide a safe haven for koalas in the area and help keep the furry animals away from water treatment operations. 

    “The trees will also enhance the area by providing screening for residents that neighbour the water treatment plant,” Mr Malos said. 

    “As an added measure to protect wildlife, fencing has been installed around Seqwater’s operational area as a barrier to keep koalas and other native wildlife safely out of those sites.

    “In South East Queensland we are fortunate to share our environment with some wonderful and unique wildlife. 

    “This project is part of Seqwater’s commitment to minimising the impacts of water infrastructure on flora and fauna.”

    Pine Rivers Koala Care Association Vice President Sam Wakerley said that according to a survey of 24 sites in Pine Rivers conducted a few years ago, about 300 koalas resided in the area. 

    “Our organisation receives about 500 koala calls each year,” Ms Wakerley said.

    “Younger, dispersing male koalas will sometimes travel to establish their own range – and this is how they end up on roads or in backyards.

    “It is estimated that the koala population in Pine Rivers has declined by 54 per cent since 2012, due to habitat destruction from development, dog attacks, car hits and disease. 

    “Projects like this one undertaken by Seqwater go a long way to ensuring our region’s koala population is not only sustainable but is able to thrive.”
     

    Image
    The North Pine Vegetation Management and Fencing project
  • Why was the Full Supply Level reduced at North Pine Dam?

    Seqwater reduced the Full Supply Level for North Pine Dam following further assessments of the potential safety risks associated with rare and extreme flood events.

    Lowering the full supply level for the dam until an upgrade is completed is a precautionary measure, which will help reduce the safety risks associated with rare and extreme flood events, beyond which the dam has experienced to date.

    North Pine Dam is in good structural condition and continues to safely operate.

    How much water has been released to reduce the Full Supply Level initially?

    The reduced full supply level lowered the water level by 3.6 meters, and the dam is therefore operating at approximately 68% of its original water storage capacity.

    For comparison, the dam was below 60% in December 2019 when the reduced FSL was enacted.

    Due to the dry conditions and low lake level in 2019 at the time when the reduced Full Supply Level was adopted, no release of water necessary to implement this change.

    What does lowering the Full Supply Level achieve?

    Lowering the Full Supply Level of dams is an accepted and long-established way of reducing the safety risks associated with rare and extreme flood events. The reduced Full Supply Level assists to reduce the peak lake level in the dam for potential flood events in the future.

    Dams which have previously been lowered as part of our Dam Improvement Program include Sideling Creek, Cooloolabin and Leslie Harrison dams.

    If the dam is safe, why do improvements need to be made?

    North Pine Dam is in good structural condition and continues to safely operate. The existing dam can withstand rare and extreme floods including possible inflows much greater than the January 2011 flood. However, the largest possible flood we can estimate would exceed the capacity of the dam.

    With a large population living downstream of North Pine Dam, the risk to downstream communities means the dam needs greater capacity to withstand the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF).

    The planned upgrade will enable the dam to continue to operate safely and improve the capacity of the dam to withstand rare and extreme floods in the future.

    North Pine Dam is one of a number of dams across South East Queensland identified for upgrade as part of Seqwater’s Dam Improvement Program.  Other dams currently scheduled for future upgrades include Lake Macdonald and Ewen Maddock dams on the Sunshine Coast and Wivenhoe and Somerset dams.

    Why are upgrades needed?

    The upgrade of the dam will increase the dam's capacity to withstand rare and extreme floods.

    With a large population living downstream of North Pine Dam, the risk to downstream communities means the dam needs greater capacity to withstand the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF).

    What is the likelihood of the dam failing?

    Since the reduced Full Supply Level was implemented, it is estimated that North Pine Dam can withstand a flood about two times larger than the rare extreme flood that occurred in January 2011.

    The probability of a flood of sufficient flow to cause dam failure is low.

    How much was the water level reduced by?

    The Full Supply Level (FSL) for North Pine Dam was reduced from 39.6 metres Australian Height Datum (mAHD) to 36.0 mAHD. This is a 3 metre reduction and resulted in the dam operating at approximately 68% of its original water storage capacity.

    How will the reduced level impact water supply?

    At the original full supply level, North Pine Dam has a capacity of approximately 214,300 ML or around 10% of the total volume of all SEQ water storages.

    North Pine Dam contributes 6% to the bulk water supply network but also provides resilience to the scheme.

    Because of it’s relatively small contribution to the network, the reduced full supply level is not expected to impact the long-term water supply security for South East Queensland.

    Seqwater monitors dam level and rainfall data daily.

    Seqwater undertakes long term demand modelling which allows us to manage supply more efficiently, as well as enact water conservation measures and drought response plans when needed.  Seqwater’s Water for Life outlines the long term strategy for providing water to the region.  The Water for Life requirements will be considered in the Options Analysis for North Pine Dam.

    Are homes more at risk of flooding now that Full Supply Level has been reduced?

    Reducing the Full Supply Level for the dam until an upgrade is completed will help reduce the safety risks associated with rare and extreme flood events.

    The flood operations for North Pine Dam with the reduced Full Supply Level are not expected to impact downstream flood levels for large and rare floods that can flood houses. It is possible releases may occur more frequently in minor flow events (much smaller than those that flood houses), which may result in temporary closures to roads in low-lying areas downstream.

    Any future flood releases will continue to be managed in accordance with the 2019 Flood Mitigation Manual for North Pine Dam.

    When will the dam be upgraded?

    Seqwater will provide further information about the timing and impacts as the Options Analysis and associated investigations are completed.

    The permanent structural upgrades are currently targeting delivery by October 2035.

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