Prospect Reservoir

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Prospect Dam
Aerial view of Prospect Reservoir (1).jpg
Aerial view of Prospect Reservoir looking west
Prospect Reservoir is located in New South Wales
Prospect Reservoir
Location of Prospect Reservoir in
New South Wales
Country Australia
Location Western Sydney, New South Wales
Coordinates 33°49′41″S 150°53′56″E / 33.828°S 150.899°E / -33.828; 150.899Coordinates: 33°49′41″S 150°53′56″E / 33.828°S 150.899°E / -33.828; 150.899
Purpose Potable water supply
Status Operational
Opening date 1888
Owner(s) Sydney Catchment Authority
Operator(s) Sydney Water
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Embankment dam
Impounds Prospect Creek
Height 26 m (85 ft)
Length 2,225 m (7,300 ft)
Dam volume 2,892×10^3 m3 (102.1×10^6 cu ft)
Spillways 1
Spillway type Uncontrolled
Spillway capacity 230 m3/s (8,100 cu ft/s)
Creates Prospect Reservoir
Total capacity 50,200 ML (1,770×10^6 cu ft)
Catchment area 9.7 km2 (4 sq mi)
Surface area 5.25 km2 (2 sq mi)
Maximum water depth 24 m (79 ft)

The Prospect Reservoir is a 50,200-megalitre (1,770×10^6 cu ft) potable water supply and storage reservoir created by the Prospect Dam,[5] across the Prospect Creek located in the Western Sydney suburb of Prospect, in New South Wales, Australia. The eastern bounds of the reservoir are a recreational area and the western periphery are within the bounds of Western Sydney Parklands.


Shortly after 1808, William Lawson was appointed aide-de-camp to George Johnston and was granted 500 acres (2.0 km2) at Prospect, which he named Veteran Hall. He built a large mansion there in the 1820s. He died on the property on 16 June 1850 and the property was eventually acquired by the Metropolitan Water Board. The house was demolished in 1929 and most of the low lying surrounding property is submerged.[6][7][8]

The dam was the first earthfill embankment dam in Australia and was completed in 1888. At the time it was intended to deliver water from the Upper Nepean Scheme via the Upper Canal to the reservoir. Prior to the completion of the Lower Canal, the water shortage still needed to be dealt with. Hudson Brothers of Clyde built a temporary raised pipe structure to deliver water from Prospect direct to the Botany Swamps.[9]

In May 1940 the reservoir became a part of the Warragamba Emergency Scheme. Pipes were constructed to deliver water 26 kilometres (16 mi) from Warragamba.

Continuing use[edit]

Since the Prospect Water Filtration Plant was completed in 1996, untreated water is generally not drawn from Prospect reservoir any more. Instead, the water is piped to the filtration plant directly from Warragamba Dam. The reservoir remains a part of Sydney Water's storage network, however it is anticipated that it will only be utilised for water supply purposes on average of five days in any five-year period.[10] As the site attracts up to half a million visitors annually, recreational use of the site is carefully managed to ensure the water remains suitable for supplementing Sydney Water's requirements.

Recreational use[edit]

The reservoir has a large recreational on its eastern side, accessed by William Lawson Drive. There is a lookout area called George Maunder Lookout (lower level and upper level) offering spectacular views of the reservoir and the Blue Mountains. The reservoir also has a number of picnic spots with BBQ and walking tracks within the native bushland.

The Prospect Reservoir is open to public during the week and weekend (but not on public holidays) from 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM during daylight saving time and from 7:00 AM to 4:30 PM during non daylight saving time.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Register of Large Dams in Australia" (Excel (requires download)). Dams information. Australian National Committee on Large Dams. 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Schladow, S. Geoffrey; Hamilton, David P. "Prediction of water quality in lakes and reservoirs" (PDF). Retrieved 22 May 2007. 
  3. ^ Romero, J. R.; et al. "Application of 1D and 3D Hydrodynamic Models Coupled to an Ecological Model to Two Water Supply Reservoirs" (PDF). Retrieved 22 May 2007. 
  4. ^ Hamilton, David P.; Schladow, Geoffrey (1995). "Controlling the Indirect Effects of Flow Diversions on Water Quality in an Australian Reservoir". Environment International. 21 (5): 583–590. doi:10.1016/0160-4120(95)00061-O. 
  5. ^ "Prospect Dam". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 29 August 2006. 
  6. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography. "Lawson, William (1774–1850)". Retrieved 29 August 2006. 
  7. ^ "Australian Heritage Database". Site of Veteran Hall, Reservoir Rd, Prospect. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  8. ^ "Veteran Hall". The Prospect Heritage Trust Inc. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "Hudson’s Temporary Scheme". The Prospect Heritage Trust Inc. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  10. ^ Gilmour, Alistair; Armstrong, I; Scandol, J. "Review of Recreational Access to Prospect Reservoir". Sydney: Adaptive Management at the Graduate School of the Environment (Macquarie University. Archived from the original on 1 October 2006. Retrieved 29 August 2006. 

External links[edit]