Burrendong Dam

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Burrendong Dam
Lake Burrendong.jpg
Lake Burrendong, New South Wales, Australia
Burrendong Dam is located in New South Wales
Burrendong Dam
Location of the Burrendong Dam
in New South Wales
LocationWellington, New South Wales
Coordinates32°40′4″S 149°6′25″E / 32.66778°S 149.10694°E / -32.66778; 149.10694Coordinates: 32°40′4″S 149°6′25″E / 32.66778°S 149.10694°E / -32.66778; 149.10694
PurposeFlood mitigation, irrigation, water supply
Construction began1958
Opening date1967
Owner(s)State Water Corporation
Dam and spillways
Type of damEmbankment dam
ImpoundsMacquarie River
Height76 metres (249 ft)
Length1,116 metres (3,661 ft)
Dam volume1,188,000 megalitres (42,000×10^6 cu ft)[1]
Spillway typeGated concrete chute
Spillway capacity13,720 cubic metres per second (485,000 cu ft/s)
CreatesLake Burrendong
Total capacity1,188 gigalitres (4.20×1010 cu ft)
Catchment area13,886 square kilometres (5,361 sq mi)
Surface area8,900 hectares (22,000 acres)
Normal elevation344 metres (1,129 ft) AMSL
Power Station
Operator(s)AGL Energy
Commission date1996
Installed capacity19 megawatts (25,000 hp)
Annual generation50.9 gigawatt-hours (183 TJ)
Burrendong Dam

Burrendong Dam is a rock-fill embankment major gated dam with a clay core across the Macquarie River upstream of Wellington in the central west region of New South Wales, Australia. The dam's purpose includes flood mitigation, irrigation, water supply and hydro-electric power generation. The dam impounds Lake Burrendong and is filled by the waters from the Macquarie, and Cudgegong rivers as well as Meroo Creek.


The idea of building the dam arose in 1909.[2] However, it was not until 1946 until legislation was passed to construct the dam. Construction commenced in 1950.[3] The town of Mumbil expanded to accommodate the workers building the dam.[4] The dam was completed in April 1965 and water began to flow into it for the first time.[5] It was officially opened on 18 August 1967 by Robert Askin, the Premier of New South Wales. The date was chosen because it was the sesquicentenary of the town of Wellington.[6] In September 1969 the dam was nearly full for the first time.[7]

The village of Burrendong, once a gold-mining area, was flooded by the construction of the dam.[8]

Location and features[edit]

The Burrendong Dam is a major dam on the Macquarie River within the Macquarie Valley, approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) southeast of Wellington. The dam was built by the New South Wales Water Conservation & Irrigation Commission for the purposes of providing flood mitigation, irrigation, and water supply.[1][9]

The dam wall height is 76 metres (249 ft) and is 1,116 metres (3,661 ft) long. The water depth is 57 metres (187 ft) and at 100% capacity the water level is 344 metres (1,129 ft) AHD. The surface area of the dam is 7,200 hectares (18,000 acres) and the catchment area of the dam is 13,900 square kilometres (5,400 sq mi). At 100%, Burrendong Dam has a capacity of 1,188,000 megalitres (42,000×10^6 cu ft). Additionally, the dam has a further flood mitigation capacity of 480,000 megalitres (17,000×10^6 cu ft).[1] The spillway on the dam is a gated concrete chute with a release capacity of 13,720 cubic metres per second (485,000 cu ft/s).[9]

Burrendong Dam has three times been recorded at a critically low level of 1.5% in drought. Contrastingly, however, Burrendong has mitigated potentially devastating floods downstream by using its flood capacity and releasing water in accordance with downstream tributary flows, safely reaching 160% of capacity in 1990 and 152.8% in 2010[citation needed]. In January 2020, the lake was again reported to be at 1.6% level.[10]

The A$32 million first phase of a major upgrade began in 2010 and is expected to be completed during 2015. This project will bring the dam up to modern safety standards including the raising of the main dam wall and saddle dam by 1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in) as well as modifications to the existing spillway, complemented by construction of an auxiliary spillway and fuse plug.[1][11]

Power generation[edit]

A hydro-electric power station generates up to 19 megawatts (25,000 hp) of electricity from the flow of the water leaving Burrendong Dam. The average output is 50.9 gigawatt-hours (183 TJ) per annum.[9] The station was completed in August 1996 and was officially opened on 9 February 1999 by the Premier of New South Wales, Bob Carr. At the time, the facility was operated by Power Facilities Pty Limited; and is now managed by AGL Energy.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Burrendong Dam" (PDF). State Water. Government of New South Wales. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  2. ^ "The Burrendong Dam". The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate. New South Wales, Australia. 9 October 1909. p. 4. Retrieved 16 October 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "BURRENDONG DAM". Construction. New South Wales, Australia. 8 February 1950. p. 8. Retrieved 16 October 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "MUMBIL IS NOW ON THE MAP". The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate. 41 (64). New South Wales, Australia. 21 October 1950. p. 2. Retrieved 16 October 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "THE BIG FILL". Western Herald. New South Wales, Australia. 23 April 1965. p. 8. Retrieved 16 October 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "Mr. Askin To Open Dam". Western Herald. New South Wales, Australia. 12 May 1967. p. 12. Retrieved 16 October 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "Burrendong Dam is Nearly Full". Western Herald. New South Wales, Australia. 19 September 1969. p. 9. Retrieved 16 October 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ Dolan, Carly (23 March 2010). "Underwater township mapped by former resident". Daily Liberal. Archived from the original on 16 October 2019. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  9. ^ a b c "Register of Large Dams in Australia" (Excel (requires download)). Dams information. The Australian National Committee on Large Dams Incorporated. 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  10. ^ Drevikovsky, Janek (15 January 2020). "NSW drought: Burrendong Dam that supplies Dubbo close to empty". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Burrendong Dam Safety Upgrade" (PDF). Factsheet. State Water of New South Wales. November 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  12. ^ "Burrendong Power Station, New South Wales". Power generation portfolio: Hydro-electric. AGL Energy Limited. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2013.

External links[edit]