A weir is a large wall that holds back water in the river so it can be slowly released downstream. They are designed to regulate water flow and are an important part of our water supply network. However, weirs can be dangerous and unpredictable as you never know when water will be released, or from which part of the weir.
Swimming or paddling in weirs, spillways, near dam walls, or in fast flowing waterways is fatal. Don’t put your life (or the life of others) at risk.
Exclusion zones have been established for the safety of all visitors. These areas are clearly marked with buoys on the water and warning signs are installed in ‘no go’ or exclusion zones.
Why are weirs dangerous?
After heavy rain, an overflowing weir can become a drowning machine due to the volume of water flowing over the person underwater, making self-rescue, and even assisted rescue, almost impossible. Being swept over a flooded weir is like being dumped by a constant barrage of plunging water, with the churning water forcing you down.
Many people fail to realise that the faster water is flowing, the shallower it needs to be to sweep you over. Being a good swimmer has nothing to do with survival once you are trapped in the drowning machine.
It only takes:
- ankle deep water to knock you off your feet
- 60 seconds to drown
- one second to rethink your decision – don’t get sucked in!
The best approach to weir safety is to avoid swimming in or playing near them. We have many great recreation areas at our lakes across the region where you can safely enjoy the water.
Download our weir safety fact sheet for more information.
Use the activity guide to find a suitable recreation area for you to enjoy a fun and safe day.
Swimming in weirs and fast flowing water is deadly. Don’t get sucked in – RETHINK IT!