Tod River (reservoir)

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Tod Reservoir
Location South Australia
Coordinates 34°28′55″S 135°50′49″E / 34.482°S 135.847°E / -34.482; 135.847Coordinates: 34°28′55″S 135°50′49″E / 34.482°S 135.847°E / -34.482; 135.847
Construction began 1918
Opening date 1922
Dam and spillways
Height 25 m
Length 351 m
Total capacity 11 300 ML
Catchment area Tod River & Pillaworta Creek
Surface area 134 ha

The Tod River is the only stream on Eyre Peninsula, South Australia providing reliable flows. The Tod reservoir is situated 27 km north of Port Lincoln and is supplied by concrete channels fed from weirs constructed across the Tod River and its major tributary, Pillaworta Creek.[1] The river was named after Mr Robert Tod who discovered it during explorations in 1839.[2] The Tod River flows into Louth Bay on Spencer Gulf.

Tod River Reservoir Museum & Picnic Area[edit]

A museum which features audio and visual displays is located off White Flat Road, northwest of Poonindie.

Grounds include a playground, tennis court, coin-operated barbecues and a picnic area. Grounds are open 7 days.

The museum is open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 4pm.[3]

Reservoir Status[edit]

While for some years up to 3,000 ML/year of water was extracted from the reservoir for potable use, negligible water has been extracted since 2001-2002. Reasons for the change include increasing salinity and concerns about the levels of agricultural chemicals in the reservoir. The reservoir has been retained as a ‘contingency' water supply measure since that time.[1][4]

There is widespread support in the Eyre Peninsula community for recommissioning the Tod Reservoir using desalination.

SA Water investigated this option and concluded it was not viable because of the difficulty in finding an environmentally suitable location for brine waste disposal. SA Water also concluded there was insufficient volume of water available in the reservoir to justify desalination. Alternative views exist, with others suggesting that desalination could be viable with some further engineering and catchment management considerations.[4]

In 2013, the reservoir's future has been the topic of Parliamentary debate, including speculation over its future use by iron ore mining company, Centrex Metals Ltd.[5]

Reservoir Construction[edit]

Mr C. A. Bayer presented the merits of a dam on the Tod River to the Royal Commission in 1916.[2]

An earth embankment dam was built on the Tod River between 1918 and 1922 at a cost of $562,000.[1]

In late 1918, three men were killed in a cave-in. Another four died in two separate blasting accidents in 1921.[1]

In 1921, 600 men were employed on the project.[6]

The reservoir overflowed for the first time in August 1932.[7]

A memorial to all seven men killed during the reservoir's construction was erected at the picnic area near the embankment in 1982.[1]

Reservoir statistics[edit]

Capacity: 11,300 megalitres

Length of wall: 351m

Height of wall: 25m

Type of wall: Earth with clay core

Area of water spread: 134 hectares[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f SA Water - Community and Education - Our Water Systems Retrieved 2013-12-07.
  2. ^ a b Trove "Tod River Reservoir - A Triumph of Engineering" Port Lincoln Times, Friday 7 February 1930.
  3. ^ "Tod River Reservoir Museum & Picnic Area" Retrieved 2013-12-07.
  4. ^ a b "Eyre Peninsula Water Supply Final Report 85th Report of the Natural Resources Committee - Under the lens" Parliament South Australia (2013)
  5. ^ "The Future of the Tod Reservoir" Port Lincoln Residents & Ratepayers Association Retrieved 2013-12-07.
  6. ^ Trove "Three Excavators Killed at Tod River Reservoir" Barrier Miner Friday 9 December 1921
  7. ^ Trove "Tod River Reservoir Overflowing" News Thursday 11 August 1932