Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) is urging customers with dams on their properties to prepare for flooding that could take place if a La Niña weather pattern develops.
The call comes in the wake of a Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecast upgrading its La Niña outlook from watch to alert this month.
The BOM alert cites criteria for a La Niña weather pattern that indicates a 70 per cent likelihood this will occur.
“We recently wrote to our customers who may have a potentially hazardous dam, asking that they take some general precautions including inspecting and monitoring dams, clearing spillways and outlet pipes to help pass flood water, and repairing any cracks and other defects,” GMW General Manager Water Delivery Services Warren Blyth said.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has also produced booklets, Your dam your responsibility and Dam safety emergency plan to assist farm dam owners to understand their responsibilities for operating and maintaining farms on their properties.
As a reminder, a potentially hazardous dam is any dam on a waterway or a dam as described under Section 67 (1A) of the Water Act 1989 as follows:
- The dam has a wall that is 5 metres or more high above ground level at the downstream end of the dam and a capacity of 50 megalitres or more; or
- The dam has a wall that is 10 metres or more high above ground level at the downstream end of the dam and a capacity of 20 megalitres or more; or
- The dam has a wall that is 15 metres or more high above ground level at the downstream end of the dam, regardless of the capacity; or
- The dam belongs to a prescribed class of dams.
La Niña is a weather pattern that will most likely bring increased rainfall and increase the likelihood of widespread flooding. Intense rain events and flood events could lead to rapid filling of dams, thereby increasing the risk of dam failure. BOM issues an alert for La Nina when three out of four criteria are met.
For more information please phone 1800 013 357.
To access further resources please visit https://www.water.vic.gov.au/managing-dams-and-water-emergencies/dams/guidance-notes
For BOM alerts visit: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/outlook/