Wivenhoe Dam was built on the Brisbane River, approximately 80 kilometres from Brisbane. It was designed by the Water Resources Commission and built in 1984. Its primary function is to provide a safe and reliable water supply for the region.
The dam has a total storage capacity of 2.6 million megalitres. At full supply level it will hold 1.15 million megalitres, or about 2000 times the daily water consumption of Brisbane.
During a flood situation, Wivenhoe Dam is designed to hold back a further 1.45 million megalitres as well as its normal storage capacity of 1.15 million megalitres. Floods may still occur in the Ipswich and Brisbane areas but they will be rarer in occurrence. Wivenhoe’s flood control facility, together with the existing flood mitigation effect of Somerset Dam, will substantially reduce the heights of relatively small floods. It is anticipated that during a large flood similar in magnitude to that experienced in 1974, by using mitigation facility within Wivenhoe Dam, flood levels will be reduced downstream by an estimated 2 metres.
If you would like to be notified about releases from Wivenhoe Dam, please sign up to our free dam release notification service.
Dam optimisation studies
In April 2014, the Department of Energy and Water Supply released optimisation studies on the operation of Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine dams for public discussion. The studies present a number of options for the management of these dams during a flood event.
Seqwater undertook assessments and modelling and provided significant input to the department around water supply security, flood management, dam operations and dam safety.
Public consultation closed on 30 June 2014. The Department of Energy and Water Supply is expecting to reach a decision ahead of the 2014-15 wet season on the future operation of Wivenhoe and Somerset dams, and North Pine Dam.
Seqwater will work with the department, as well as other state and local government agencies to implement the updated flood mitigation measures.
More information on the Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams Optimisation Study or the North Pine Dam Optimisation Study is available on the Department of Energy and Water Supply website.
Lake Wivenhoe is a very popular recreation destination, with a wide variety of activities and facilities available. There are a number of recreation areas at the lake, including Logan’s Inlet, Hamon Cove and Cormorant Bay.
A new 16-kilometre multi-use trail network is now open at Wivenhoe Hill, offering spectacular views of Lake Wivenhoe to mountain bike riders, horse riders, walkers and trail runners. Four tracks are available, ranging in distance from 3km to 5km. The trails have been rated class 3 under the Australian Walking Trail Standard, requiring a reasonable level of fitness. The Wivenhoe Hill Trail entrance is located off Fig Tree Road, via the Hay Road exit on the Brisbane Valley Highway. Download the Wivenhoe Hill Trails guide for more information and a trail network map.
In response to feedback during the Recreation Review, restricted power boating is now permitted on Lake Wivenhoe.
- Vessels must be low-emission outboards/engines. This limits motors to four strokes or direct fuel-injected two strokes
- Vessels are not to exceed 6 knots. If your vessels is on the plane, you’re going too fast!
For more information, read the FAQ for power boats on Lake Wivenhoe.
Permits are required for boating on Lake Wivenhoe. A SIPS permit is required for fishing at Lake Wivenhoe. Visit the Fisheries website for information and to purchase your permit.
Download the Lake Wivenhoe Recreation Guide for detailed information about all activities, as well as maps and important safety information.
Wivenhoe Dam houses a pumped-storage, hydro-electric generating facility. This power station is situated between Splityard Creek Dam and Lake Wivenhoe.
During the pumping phase in the operating cycle the generator will operate as an electric motor driving the pump to lift water from Lake Wivenhoe to the upper storage of Splityard Creek Dam. When peak electricity demand occurs the flow of water is reversed, flowing from the upper to the lower storage and driving the turbine generator to generate electricity.
The pumped storage power station consists of two circular concrete silos, each of about 32 metres internal diameter. Each of the silos house a 250MW turbine generator and pump set.
The power station is unmanned and is controlled remotely from the central operating centre for the Queensland power grid system. All aspects of the operation are monitored by computers within the centre. Twin 275KV transmission lines connect the power station to the State’s grid system.