Split Rock DamThe third dam built in the Namoi Valley

Split Rock
Latest dam level

View all dam & rainfall levels
Status Open to Public

Visit the Dam

Split Rock Dam is a popular inland sport and recreation destination near Tamworth, offering year-round attractions for water sports and fishing enthusiasts, birdwatchers, bushwalkers, campers and picnickers. Split Rock operates with Keepit Dam to supply water for irrigation, environmental flows, stock, industry and household needs in the Namoi Valley.

Look out points

Dam foreshores

The dam’s extensive foreshores provide many vantage points with views of the lake and rolling countryside. There is no access to the dam wall.

Things to do

  • Water sports
  • Fishing
  • Camp

Opening hours

Dam grounds

Open 24 hours a day, all year round. Barraba Visitor Information Centre 02 6782 1105.


Split Rock Dam is 70 kilometres north-west of Tamworth on the NSW North West Slopes. Tamworth is about 400 kilometres north of Sydney via the Pacific and New England highways.


  • Camping
  • Barbecues
  • Picnic areas
  • Toilets
  • Fishing
  • Shower facilities
  • Boat ramps
  • Water sports
  • Bushwalking



Restrictions are in place to protect our water supply and ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and safe visit - with penalties up to $44,000 applying:


Recreation Areas at WaterNSW dams will be closed on ALL Total Fire Ban days.

The Split Rock Dam Experience


Things to see and do


1. Camp


Split Rock Dam’s extensive foreshores offer sites for unpowered camping with lake views. The main camping ground about one kilometre north of the dam wall on the western foreshore has powered and unpowered sites, wood barbecues, toilets, picnic shelters and fish cleaning area. Glen Riddle Reserve on the northern shore of the dam’s upper reaches also provides camping at unpowered sites with wood barbecues, toilets and a gravel boat ramp.


2. Water sports


Water sports include skiing, jet skis, sailing, canoeing and swimming. A concrete boat ramp is available at the main camping grounds about one kilometre north of the dam wall on the western foreshore. A gravel boat ramp is available at Glen Riddle Reserve on the northern shore of the dam’s upper reaches.


3. Fishing


Murray cod, golden perch (yellow belly) and silver perch are the top catches. Catfish and carp are also caught.

Facts & History

Split Rock Dam is situated on the Manilla River about 28 kilometres upstream of Manilla and 70 kilometres north-west of Tamworth on the NSW North West Slopes. The dam is about 470 kilometres north-west of Sydney.

The dam has a capacity of 397,370 megalitres, three-quarters the volume of Sydney Harbour.

Split Rock Dam is named after a fissure in a giant rock near the dam site.

Why the dam was built

Split Rock Dam was built in the 1980s to supplement supplies from Keepit Dam and meet increased agricultural demand for water in the Namoi Valley.

Split Rock Dam on the Manilla River became the third dam built in the Namoi Valley. The others are Keepit Dam on the Namoi River and Chaffey Dam on the Peel River.

Cotton was one of the main crops to benefit from the availability of irrigation, with many farmers switching from sheep and cattle to cotton after Keepit Dam was built in the 1960s. The Namoi Valley is also well-known for its agricultural production of cereal, oilseed, lucerne, wheat and vegetables.

In addition to irrigated agriculture and environmental flows, the dam provides town water for Walgett and Barraba, and meets other industry and domestic requirements, flood mitigation and recreation. A two megawatt hydroelectric power station generates on irrigation, flood mitigation and environmental flows.

How the dam was built

Split Rock Dam is a rock-fill embankment wall with a concrete slab on the upstream face. The wall is 456 metres long and 68 metres high.

A concrete chute spillway is located just north of the dam wall.

An intake tower controls the quality and temperature of water released from the dam.

Construction began in 1984 and finished in 1987.

Later improvements

To meet modern dam safety standards, in 2012 a two-metre high concrete parapet wall was built on top of the embankment wall to improve the ability of the dam to withstand a rare and extreme flood.

Dam Summary

Metres High
Length: 456 metres
397,370 ml total operating capacity
Size of lake:
22 km 2
Catchment: 1,650 square kilometres

Dam Wall

Size Measurement
Length 456m
Thickness of base m
Width of central spillway m
Concrete mass t
Width of auxillary spillway m
Length of auxillary spillway m

Lake and Catchment

Size Measurement
Area 22km2
Length of lake km
Length of foreshores km
Maximum depth of reservoir m
Catchment area 1,650km2
Annual average rainfall mm


Size Measurement
Diameter mm
Length km each
Capacity ML per day
Sunday 29 November
2,371,296 ML
2,581,850 ML
7,838 ML
1,120 ML
-101,020 ML
Sunday 29 November
Split Rock Dam
Wednesday 25 November