Callide dam is popular for recreational activities. FILE PHOTO.
Callide dam is popular for recreational activities. FILE PHOTO.

A warning for Callide, Fairbairn dam users

CALLIDE and Fairbairn dam users have been urged to stay vigilant during the busy holiday season with lower water levels being experienced in many Central Queensland waterways.

Sunwater, which operates Callide, Fairbairn and Cania dams, on Monday said the lower levels at the region’s dams, lakes and weirs meant submerged hazards could lurk just below the surface, increasing the chance of accidents occurring for locals and visitors alike.

As of 1pm on Monday, Callide Dam was 22.7 per cent capacity (30,901 ML).

Fairbairn Dam was at 7.7 per cent capacity (99,536 ML) and Cania Dam was at 38.9 per cent capacity (34,431 ML).

Sunwater also reminded recreational users that the current situation could change very quickly, presenting a different threat.

“As Queensland is forecast to receive higher-than-average rainfall this summer, significant flows into our dams, lakes and weirs can also result in changes within the waterways,” the organisation said.

To educate regional Queenslanders about the risks associated with water-based activities, Sunwater has launched an advertising campaign on the dangers of not checking things out before getting in the water.

The campaign is being aired in locations closest to Sunwater’s assets and will run until January.

Sunwater chief executive officer Glenn Stockton urged holiday-makers to have fun while enjoying waterways safely.

“After a tough year navigating COVID-19, it’s understandable people want to come together outside and enjoy the summer months swimming, boating and fishing,” he said.

“But visiting our dams, especially those with lower water levels, should be done with caution.

“While things may appear calm on the water, there can be submerged hazards such as tree branches, stumps, sharp, loose or slippery rocks, sandbanks and debris, which can cause serious injury.”

Whether the water level is high or low, boats should always obey speed limits and only tow water skiers and boarders in deeper areas.

Swimmers should also be aware of their abilities as strong currents and undertows can be present.

Additionally, underwater hazards can move with the currents, arising in shallow areas previously thought to be safe.

Before heading to a dam, lake or weir this season, visitors should check storage levels by visiting the Sunwater website or app.

Recreation users should also check signs and conditions, and visit the Maritime Safety

Queensland website for the latest speed restrictions on inland waterways before entering the water.

Queenslanders can learn more about the “Check things out before you get in” campaign on the Sunwater website.

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