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Aerial view of the Sideling Creek Dam spillway

Sideling Creek Dam upgrade

The Sideling Creek Dam upgrade project was completed in May 2020.

In 2012-13, Seqwater commissioned an independent review of our 26 referable dams which found improvements are needed at a number of our dams to meet the Queensland dam safety guidelines into the future.

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Home What We're Doing Sideling Creek Dam upgrade

In 2012-13, Seqwater commissioned an independent review of our 26 referable dams which found improvements are needed at a number of our dams to meet the Queensland dam safety guidelines into the future.

We've prioritised a program of dam upgrades in a staged approach to give us time to scope, design and plan, while maintaining public safety, security of water supply and delivering best value for money.

Sideling Creek Dam is one of a number of dams identified for upgrade.

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  • The upgraded Sideling Creek Dam Wall

    Spillway works now completed at Sideling Creek Dam 

    Construction work on the $18 million Sideling Creek Dam Upgrade is now complete, with final upgrades to the spillway and downstream restoration finished earlier this month. 

    Major upgrade works which were completed in 2019, included strengthening the main dam structure to better withstand earthquakes and extreme weather events. Remaining minor works are now complete.   

    Seqwater Senior Project Manager, Stephen Sanderson, said the upgrade also included improved recreation opportunities for locals and visitors.

    “In addition, we have revamped the recreation area, including new picnic tables, shade structures and turf. With the upgrade now complete, the water level of the lake has returned to its original full supply level, offering greater recreation enjoyment for everyone,” Mr Sanderson said. 

    The upgrade has also delivered environmental improvements for the lake and surrounding catchment, including a redesigned area downstream from the spillway to create a defined passageway to allow fish to travel downstream.

    “We undertook significant revegetation works in the broader catchment area and
    partnered with community groups to help improve the bushland as part of the upgrade project,” Mr Sanderson said. 

    “New koala and security fencing have been installed to protect local wildlife and prevent access to restricted areas of the dam.”

    Sideling Creek Dam is one of several dams across South East Queensland identified in the assessment for upgrade as part of Seqwater’s Dam Improvement Program. 

    For more information about Seqwater’s Dam Improvement Program visit: https://www.seqwater.com.au/what-were-doing

    The upgraded Sideling Creek Dam Wall
    Sideling Creek project manager

    Sideling Creek Dam upgrade is underway

    Work to upgrade Sideling Creek Dam (Lake Kurwongbah) is now underway, which will include strengthening the main dam structure and spillway.

    As well as providing safety benefits, the project will also provide recreation and environment benefits too, check out the video above to learn more.

    Construction planning at Sideling Creek Dam is underway

    Construction planning is underway

    The detailed design for the upgrade of Sideling Creek Dam (Lake Kurwongbah) is nearing completion and construction planning is underway.

    Construction for the planned upgrade is expected to start in mid - 2018, subject to Seqwater receiving necessary project approvals.

    The upgrades to Sideling Creek Dam, as part of our Dam Improvement Program, will involve strengthening the main embankment of the dam and the concrete spillway, and then restoring the dam’s capacity to the original full supply level. Upgrading the dam is the most cost-effective way to improve dam safety, while maintaining the dam’s flood mitigation benefits and keeping the lake open to recreation.

    The work will involve strengthening the main dam embankment (pictured below) by constructing a sand filter layer across the downstream face of the embankment held in place by a layer of engineered fill. The lower part of the dam in the original creek bed will be strengthened by the construction of a rock-fill berm to support the embankment. We expect the upgrade will take about 12 months to complete, subject to weather conditions and other unforeseen delays.

    What is detailed design

    What is detailed design?

    Once the preferred option has been approved, detailed design is required to detail all of the work required for the upgrade and produce the drawings, specifications and plans for delivery. The detailed design phase involves finalising the upgrade work, determining the materials we will need for construction and in what order we will do the work to keep everyone safe.

    This phase of the project also involves safety and environmental assessments so that we can include any special requirements for construction in the design. A traffic management assessment has already been completed for Sideling Creek Dam to consider the impacts of construction on the local road network. We have recently been completing Cultural Heritage and Environmental assessments at the site in preparation for construction.

    We have also been speaking with the Department of Energy and Water Supply, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Department of Natural Resources and Mines regarding our plans to improve the area downstream of the spillway.

    Sideling Creek Spillway

    The spillway

    Following the completion of the upgrade works, the slot in the spillway will be reinstated to allow the dam to be restored to its original full supply level.

    A new dissipator in the form of an excavated pool will be constructed at the end of the concrete spillway to manage erosion and improve fish migration downstream. We will also be making improvements to the creek channel downstream.

    Currently, there is potential for fish to become stranded below the concrete spillway after flood events in waterholes that can be found in the creek bed. The dissipator will be excavated in the existing rock to break up the energy from flood flows and will help fish travel downstream. We will also be providing safe access for rescuing any stranded fish if required. Design plans (below) for the dissipater are being finalised to provide the best solution for ongoing operation.

    As part of the dissipator improvements some of the excavated material will be used to stabilise the downstream creek banks which will help to minimise erosion.

    Sideling Creek Dam Project Water Velocity Diagram
    Sideling Creek Dam Project Water Velocity Diagram


    Two people Paddling in canoes at Kurwongbah

    Future recreation changes

    Changes are happening at both Lake Kurwongbah and its neighbour Lake Samsonvale to improve access for recreation following a landmark water quality study.

    Last year, we announced we would be opening Lake Samsonvale to the public for paddlecraft for the first time, as well as revising the current shared recreation arrangement on Lake Kurwongbah to allow public rowing, paddling and club skiing on the lake, seven days a week. We are currently planning to introduce these changes at both lakes. We will continue to talk to key stakeholders throughout the planning process. Keep an eye on our website for updates.