A previous water release at Somerset Dam
A previous water release at Somerset Dam

Cyclone may force southeast dam release

WATER bosses may need to release water from Somerset Dam into Wivenhoe as Cyclone Oma approaches the coast.

However it is unlikely water will need to be released from Wivenhoe, based on current Bureau of Meteorology forecasts.

A spokesman for Seqwater - the state government-owned corporation that operates both dams - said it worked closely with BoM to monitor approaching rainfall systems.

Somerset Dam was sitting at 75.4 per cent capacity earlier today, with Wivenhoe at 62.6 per cent.

"Based on the current forecast we may be required to carry out operational releases from Somerset Dam into Wivenhoe Dam," the spokesman said.

"Seqwater regularly undertakes operational releases from Somerset in response to weather events.

"Based on current BoM forecasts it is unlikely Seqwater will be required to make releases from Wivenhoe Dam but we are continuing to monitor closely."

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers launched a class action against the state of Queensland following the 2011 Brisbane floods, arguing dam operators allowed too much water to build up in Wivenhoe.


A previous water release at Somerset Dam
A previous water release at Somerset Dam


The law firm alleged the released water contributed to a downstream flood.

The class action is ongoing.

Similar questions have been asked about the operation of Ross River Dam in the recent Townsville floods.

The Seqwater spokesman said given the dry state of the surrounding catchment, Wivenhoe would need a catchment average rainfall of about 200mm over the weekend into Monday, for a release to be required.

"Seqwater flood engineers are rostered 24/7 to monitor weather events," he said.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said Brisbane City Council's sandbag depots were fully stocked, with 57,000 ready to be used.

"The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast rain over the weekend and council remains alert, but not alarmed," he said.

"Parts of Brisbane are also experiencing higher than normal tides and we encourage residents in bayside, riverside and low-lying areas to avoid parking their vehicles on the street."

The sandbag depots can be found in Darra, Morningside, Newmarket and Zillmere.