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Wyangala Dam Central to the Lachlan valley

Wyangala
Latest dam level
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Status Open to Public
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Visit the Dam

Facilities

  • Camping
  • Childrens playground
  • Picnic areas
  • Toilets
  • Fishing
  • Kiosk
  • Shower facilities
  • Boat ramps
  • Water sports
  • Bushwalking

The second major dam built for irrigation in NSW when construction began in 1928, Wyangala Dam helped drive the economic development of the Lachlan Valley as a major food producing region. Today the dam continues to support irrigated agriculture across the valley around Cowra, Forbes, Condobolin and Hillston. It also supplies stock and household needs for landholders and towns along the Lachlan River, environmental flows, flood mitigation and hydroelectricity. The lake is a popular sport and recreation destination.

Look out points

Wyangala Bridge

Drive across the new bridge opened in 2014 downstream of the dam for impressive views of the wall and large spillway gates, and downstream along the Lachlan River. The dam wall is currently closed for upgrade works.

Wyangala Road

Elevated views of the dam wall, lake and valley are available on Wyangala Road south of the spillway.

Opening hours

Dam grounds

Open 24 hours a day, all year round. Entry is free.

Wyangala Waters Park

Office is open 9am to 5pm daily. Phone 02 6345 0877.

Directions

View in Maps

Wyangala Dam is about 50 kilometres south-east of Cowra in Central West NSW.  Cowra is about 320 kilometres west of Sydney via the Great Western and Mid Western highways.

Facilities

  • Camping
  • Childrens playground
  • Picnic areas
  • Toilets
  • Fishing
  • Kiosk
  • Shower facilities
  • Boat ramps
  • Water sports
  • Bushwalking

Fishing

Restrictions

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 Wyngala Dam Experience

Things to see and do

1. Camp

Wyangala Dam accommodation options range from cottages, cabins and houseboats to powered and unpowered sites at two caravan parks on the lake foreshores. Wyangala Waters State Park is about 8 kilometres north of the dam wall and best accessed from Cowra. Grabine Lakeside State Park is located on the dam’s eastern foreshore and is best accessed from Crookwell or Goulburn. Both parks have a kiosk, picnic shelters, boat ramps, toilet, shower and barbecue facilities, and a range of accommodation options. Grabine Lakeside has group accommodation in bunkhouses.

2. Water sports

The lake is a popular spot for all water sports including skiing, jet skis, sailing, canoeing and swimming. Boat ramps are available at Wyangala Waters and Grabine Lakeside parks.

3. Fishing

Wyangala Dam is stocked with Murray cod, golden perch (yellow belly) and brown and rainbow trout. Redfin, catfish, Macquarie perch, sliver perch and carp are also caught.


 

Dam Summary

85
Metres High
Length: 1,370 metres
Size of lake:
54 km 2
1,217 gl total operating capacity
Catchment: 8,300 square kilometres

Facts & History

Wyangala Dam is situated on the junction of the Lachlan and Abercrombie rivers about 48 kilometres upstream from Cowra in Central West NSW.  The dam is about 320 kilometres west of Sydney.

Wyangala Dam’s storage capacity of 1,217,000 megalitres is more than twice the volume of Sydney Harbour.

The dam is named after Wyangala Station, one of the properties on which it was built.

Why the dam was built

By the early 1900s it was clear that further development of the Lachlan Valley required a dam to regulate variable river flows. Following completion of NSW’s first dam for irrigation – Burrinjuck on the Murrumbidgee River – worked started in 1928 on the state’s second major irrigation dam, Wyangala on the Lachlan River.

When completed in 1935, Wyangala was designed to irrigate 15,000 hectares along the upper reaches of the Lachlan River, supply water to people and stock over an area of half a million hectares, and open up a quarter of a million hectares west of Eubalong for settle and development as wheat farms.

Today the dam provides water for a far larger area following the dam’s enlargement in 1971 and fourfold increase in storage capacity. Pasture and lucerne now have the largest combined irrigated area, followed by cereals and other crops such as oilseeds and legumes. The dam also irrigates cotton around Hillston and smaller areas of wine around Cowra.

How the dam was built

Construction of Wyangala Dam began in 1928 and finished in 1935. Hundreds of workers lived on-site at Wyangala township in cottages and barracks. They used steam engines and manual labour to build the wall, with a railway line transporting materials to the site.

The original structure at Wyangala was a mass concrete gravity dam 58.8 metres high with a storage capacity of 374,860 megalitres and a surface area of 25.2 square kilometres.

The dam was later enlarged with a rock-fill embankment with a clay core built downstream of the original concrete wall. Enlargement work began in 1961 and finished in 1971. A new spillway capable of withstanding a very severe flood was built, along with a road bridge over the spillway and new low level and high level outlets.

Raising the crest 23.5 metres increased the storage capacity by almost four times to 1,220,000 megalitres with a lake surface area of 53.9 square kilometres. The rock-fill embankment also strengthened the structure to meet modern dam safety standards. The original concrete dam wall can be seen when the water level falls below 30 percent.

Later improvements

To meet modern dam safety standards and increase dam safety in the event of extreme flooding, in 2009 the walls of the downstream spillway chute were raised. Work is currently underway to install a gate raising and locking system so the dam’s radial gates can be raised and locked open in the very rare likelihood of an extreme flood. A new bridge was built downstream of the dam wall as part of the upgrade for vehicle access across the river.


Notifications

In consultation with our stakeholders and the community we review and update these notifications.

To receive Early Warning Network notifications below please register your details with us.

To see all past archived notifications, please visit all dam notifications.


Dam safety notifications

Alerts will be issued in the following unlikely events:

  • When there is a reasonable possibility of dam failure.
  • State Emergency Service (SES) require advance public warning to evacuate if such a failure may occur.

Amber alert

  • Trigger - Storage level has reached Design Flood Level.
  • Notification - You are advised to move to higher ground and if necessary evacuate.

Red alert

  • Trigger - Storage level has reached crest level.
  • Notification - Residents are advised to evacuate to their designated flood assembly points.

Flood notifications

Flood notifications indicate the dam is releasing controlled or uncontrolled flows, likely to cause downstream flooding.

Flood operations

  • Trigger - Flow increases of 10,000 and 30,000 megalitres per day.
  • Notification - Flows of XX,000 megalitres per day are being passed.

1 in 50 year flood

  • Trigger - Spillway flows (uncontrolled*) over 24,710 megalitres per day.
  • Notification - Flows of 24,000 megalitres per day are being passed, a 1 in 50 year flood.

1 in 100 year flood

  • Trigger - Spillway flows (uncontrolled*) over 33,696 megalitres per day.
  • Notification - Flows of over 33,000 megalitres per day are being passed, a 1 in 100 year flood.

Flood of record

  • Trigger - Spillway flows of over 170,000 megalitres per day, last reached in 1995.
  • Notification - Flows of over 170,000 megalitres per day are being passed, a flood of record.

High regulated release notifications

High regulated releases are when our operations may impact landholders immediately downstream or we are releasing higher than normal flows.

Normal operations

  • Range - 0 to 5000 megalitres per day.
  • Notification - No notifications in this range.

Increased flows

  • Trigger - When flow increases above 5000 megalitres per day.
  • Notification - Releases are planned to increase from XX,000 megalitres per day (ML/day) to YY,000 ML/day at 00:00 on DD/MM/YY.

More information

  
AgencyInformationWebsitePhone
Bureau of MeteorologyWeather forecasts and warningsBOMvaries by region
NSW Algae HotlineAlgal alert details and algae levelsDPI Water1800 999 457
NSW State Emergency ServiceFlood or severe weather warnings/adviceNSW SES132 500
NSW Water InformationStorage levels and river heightsWater infoN/A
Water NSWTo view or edit your registration detailsEWN1300 662 077
To provide feedback on our EWNFeedback1300 662 077
92.1
Thursday 27 July
-0.4
2,376,755 ML
2,581,749 ML
10,463 ML
1,495 ML
-9,483 ML
Thursday 27 July
87.4
Wyangala Dam
Thursday 27 July