Keepit Dam

Pride of the Namoi Valley

DAM LEVEL

44%

CAPACITY

419GL

SIZE OF LAKE

44 KM2

Keepit Dam is a popular inland sport and recreation destination near Tamworth, offering year-round attractions for water sports and fishing enthusiasts, nature lovers, bushwalkers, campers and picnickers. The lake foreshores are home to a popular holiday park and a NSW Sport and Recreation Centre. The main purpose of the dam is to supply irrigation, stock and household needs in the Namoi Valley.

Dam fact sheet (PDF, 1314.69 KB)

Essential maintenance work on the Keepit Dam spillway gates will take place from 1 July 2024 until late 2024, weather permitting. The work will not impact the operation of the dam or access to nearby recreational facilities.

Look out points

Tolcumbah lookout

Tolcumbah lookout just south of the dam wall provides excellent views of the wall, lake and surrounding countryside. There is no access to the dam wall.

Lake Keepit State Park

The park has many vantage points with panoramic views of the lake and countryside. The office is open 8am to 5pm daily, phone 02 6769 7605. Entry fees apply.

HOURS - Entry is free

  • Open 24 hours

TOP SAFETY TIPS

  • Wear a life jacket
  • Supervise your children
  • Look out for underwater hazards
  • Keep a safe distance when boating
  • Follow all algae alerts

Learn more about safety at our sites.

REPORT A HAZARD OR INCIDENT

Please phone 1800 061 069

In an emergency call 000

We’re the people taking care of the state’s water at the source – capturing, storing, delivering. Learn more about WaterNSW.

Facilities

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BMX track

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Boat ramps

Camping

Camping

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Children’s Playground

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Picnic Shelters

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Shower facilities

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Toilets

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Visitor centre

Things to do

Stay

Accommodation around the lake ranges from cabins, and permanent tents to powered and unpowered sites for caravans and camping.

Water sports

Water sports include skiing, jet skis, sailing, canoeing and swimming. Lake Keepit State Park has several boat ramps. Boats are available for hire. Visit Lake Keepit Sailing Club’s clubhouse near the dam wall.

Fishing

Fishing at Lake Keepit includes Golden perch (yellow belly), silver perch and Murray cod.

Map and directions

Keepit Dam is 40 kilometres north-east of Gunnedah and 55 kilometres north-west of Tamworth on the north west slopes of NSW Northern Tablelands. Tamworth is about 400 kilometres north of Sydney via the Pacific and New England highways.

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:

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No model aircraft or drones

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

Facts and History

Keepit Dam is situated on the Namoi River about 40 kilometres upstream of Gunnedah on the north west slopes of the NSW Northern Tablelands. The dam is about 400 kilometres north of Sydney.

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KEEPIT DAM

Facts and History

Keepit Dam is situated on the Namoi River about 40 kilometres upstream of Gunnedah on the north west slopes of the NSW Northern Tablelands. The dam is about 400 kilometres north of Sydney.

The dam has a capacity of 425,000 megalitres, making it nearly as large as Sydney Harbour.

Keepit Dam is named after a property Keypit on which it is built.

Why the dam was built

A dam on the Namoi River was proposed as early as the 1890s to boost agricultural production in the Namoi Valley. Farmers relied on artesian water to supplement variable river flows but by the 1930s water levels were falling. In 1939 work finally began on Keepit Dam upstream of Gunnedah.

Keepit became the first of three dams built in the Namoi Valley. Chaffey Dam was later built on the Peel River and Split Rock Dam on the Manilla River.

Cotton was one of the main crops to benefit from the availability of irrigation, as well as lucerne, cereals, oilseed, wheat and vegetables. Increased agricultural production drove the growth of downstream towns Gunnedah, Narrabri, Wee Waa and Walgett.

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

How the dam was built

Keepit Dam is mass concrete gravity dam with an earth fill abutment south of the wall. The concrete wall is 533 metres long and 55 metres high. A spillway in the centre of the dam wall allows flood waters to pass through six radial gates.

Work on Keepit Dam began in 1939, was halted in 1941 by World War II, resumed in 1946 and was completed by 1960.

During the construction period, hundreds of workers lived on-site in single and married quarters. Some of the huts from Keepit were later transported to Central West NSW for the construction of Burrendong Dam near Wellington.

Later improvements

To meet modern dam safety standards, in 2011 two additional spillways and three saddle dams were built to allow the dam to safely pass a rare and extreme flood. Work is currently underway on stage two of the upgrade which involves raising and strengthening the main dam wall.

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