The Queensland Government is encouraging regional Queenslanders to be aware of safety risks surrounding low-level dams..
The Queensland Government is encouraging regional Queenslanders to be aware of safety risks surrounding low-level dams.. Photographer: William Long

Increased safety risks at regional dams this summer

REGIONAL Queenslanders are encouraged to be aware of increased recreational safety risks of low level dams.

Nine dams across regional Queensland - the majority of which are popular for recreational use - have water levels below 50 per cent.

Water Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said that at 24 per cent capacity, Coolmunda Dam near Inglewood has 50 per cent less water than this time last year.

"While caution should always be exercised when using dams, lakes and weirs recreationally, the risk of exposed and submerged hazards, shallow water and blue-green algae increases as dam levels drop,'' Dr Lynham said.

"These risks are real and should be top-of-mind for all recreational dam users ahead of the summer holiday period and as drought conditions continue across much of the state.

"Whether a dam or weir is full, half full or empty, exposed and submerged hazards, including tree stumps, pipes and rocks, are always present.

"Some known hazards may be marked with buoys but it remains the skipper's responsibility to be aware of the risks associated with operating their vessel on the lake.

"Everyone should take their personal safety and the safety of friends and family seriously when visiting a dam or weir, as the consequences can be devastating.

"There are four key dam safety tips we encourage everyone to follow - always read the signs, be aware of your surroundings, proceed with caution and keep at least 200 metres away from dam and weir walls."

Regional Queenslanders can check local dam levels, safety alerts and key information about recreational areas on the new SunWater App and the SunWater website - www.sunwater.com.au.

SunWater also works closely with Maritime Safety Queensland to monitor water levels and identify safety risks and hazards. This information, including any boating speed limit restrictions and changes to dam/lake closure times can be found the MSQ website: www.msq.qld.gov.au