Waratah Dam

Updated March 2018

This update on the status of the Waratah Dam in the state’s northwest follows a community meeting on the 13th of February this year.

The community meeting was well attended, and we provided an update on our position in relation to the dam and the outcome of the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process. We also discussed a number of important issues with the community and other key stakeholders.

We recognise that the Waratah Dam is of great importance to the community, particularly in terms of recreation and environmental values. For this reason, we invited the community and other key stakeholders to respond to the EOI process, which provided an opportunity to take over ownership and responsibility for the dam. Unfortunately, there were no formal expressions of interest received by the due date of 31 January 2018.

As the dam owner, our primary concern is to ensure that the dam is safe. Currently the dam is not safe, and if it failed it could be a risk to life and property –this is a risk which we must address as we are obliged to ensure public safety. Given this, we will increase the safety of the dam by:

  • Further lowering the dam in March
  • Breaching the dam before the onset of winter

An environmental investigation has commenced to ensure any potential impacts on flora and fauna are identified and minimised. We will not be breaching the dam until this investigation is completed, unless there is a weather event which requires us to do so to maintain community safety. All of our key actions in relation to the dam are undertaken in consultation with the state’s Dam Safety Regulator.

In addition to safety, we have a responsibility to all our customers, and our shareholders - the state’s 29 local councils, to prudently manage our financial resources. We are also directed by the Tasmanian Economic Regulator to operate efficiently.

The dam is not a required water supply asset for TasWater, as the water supply for Waratah is provided year round by the run of the river, therefore any further investment in the dam by TasWater must take this into consideration.

Breaching the dam will not affect whether we decommission or repair the dam. What it will mean is the dam will be safe. We will then collect the remaining information; further assess any interest from other parties in repairing and maintaining the dam, while also meeting our obligations.

The community meeting also raised questions for us to respond to in more detail. These covered the following topics:

  • Environmental considerations of breaching and decommissioning
  • Fire management
  • Previous maintenance of the dam by TasWater
  • Flood mitigation of the dam
  • Ownership of the small town dam
  • Effect of water supply from the small town dam
  • Stream flow rates
  • Ownership of the land under the Waratah reservoir
  • Flow effects on the waratah waterfall
  • Breaching federal and state environmental laws

We have addressed these issues in the document library section of this webpage, with the document ‘Q and A from 13 February 2018 community meeting’.

* In the Document Library on the right hand side of this page there are also two Risk Assessment Reports by Entura available to download. These reports also contained information about other Tasmanian dams, which has largely been redacted as it is not relevant to the Waratah Dam. There is an additional Entura report titled ‘Waratah River Yield Analysis’ which contains a yield analysis for the river. This is accompanied by some questions and answers in relation to this report, which can be found in the document library, titled ‘Q and A from Entura Yield Analysis 2015’.

For more information about this project, please contact TasWater's Community Engagement Team on 13 6992 or email communityengagement@taswater.com.au.

Updated March 2018

This update on the status of the Waratah Dam in the state’s northwest follows a community meeting on the 13th of February this year.

The community meeting was well attended, and we provided an update on our position in relation to the dam and the outcome of the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process. We also discussed a number of important issues with the community and other key stakeholders.

We recognise that the Waratah Dam is of great importance to the community, particularly in terms of recreation and environmental values. For this reason, we invited the community and other key stakeholders to respond to the EOI process, which provided an opportunity to take over ownership and responsibility for the dam. Unfortunately, there were no formal expressions of interest received by the due date of 31 January 2018.

As the dam owner, our primary concern is to ensure that the dam is safe. Currently the dam is not safe, and if it failed it could be a risk to life and property –this is a risk which we must address as we are obliged to ensure public safety. Given this, we will increase the safety of the dam by:

  • Further lowering the dam in March
  • Breaching the dam before the onset of winter

An environmental investigation has commenced to ensure any potential impacts on flora and fauna are identified and minimised. We will not be breaching the dam until this investigation is completed, unless there is a weather event which requires us to do so to maintain community safety. All of our key actions in relation to the dam are undertaken in consultation with the state’s Dam Safety Regulator.

In addition to safety, we have a responsibility to all our customers, and our shareholders - the state’s 29 local councils, to prudently manage our financial resources. We are also directed by the Tasmanian Economic Regulator to operate efficiently.

The dam is not a required water supply asset for TasWater, as the water supply for Waratah is provided year round by the run of the river, therefore any further investment in the dam by TasWater must take this into consideration.

Breaching the dam will not affect whether we decommission or repair the dam. What it will mean is the dam will be safe. We will then collect the remaining information; further assess any interest from other parties in repairing and maintaining the dam, while also meeting our obligations.

The community meeting also raised questions for us to respond to in more detail. These covered the following topics:

  • Environmental considerations of breaching and decommissioning
  • Fire management
  • Previous maintenance of the dam by TasWater
  • Flood mitigation of the dam
  • Ownership of the small town dam
  • Effect of water supply from the small town dam
  • Stream flow rates
  • Ownership of the land under the Waratah reservoir
  • Flow effects on the waratah waterfall
  • Breaching federal and state environmental laws

We have addressed these issues in the document library section of this webpage, with the document ‘Q and A from 13 February 2018 community meeting’.

* In the Document Library on the right hand side of this page there are also two Risk Assessment Reports by Entura available to download. These reports also contained information about other Tasmanian dams, which has largely been redacted as it is not relevant to the Waratah Dam. There is an additional Entura report titled ‘Waratah River Yield Analysis’ which contains a yield analysis for the river. This is accompanied by some questions and answers in relation to this report, which can be found in the document library, titled ‘Q and A from Entura Yield Analysis 2015’.

For more information about this project, please contact TasWater's Community Engagement Team on 13 6992 or email communityengagement@taswater.com.au.