Oberon Dam

An alpine lake famed for its trout

DAM LEVEL

98%

CAPACITY

45GL

SIZE OF LAKE

4 KM2

Oberon Dam is part of the Fish River water supply, the only scheme in eastern Australian to transfer western flowing water east of the Great Dividing Range. Conceived in the 1940s to supply water to the shale oil industry, it now supplies water to a nearby power station as well as meeting stock and domestic needs in the Oberon and Lithgow areas as well as the Blue Mountains. At 1068 metres above sea level, the lake is classed as alpine waters and is well-known for its great trout fishing.

Look out points

Dam wall

Walk across the dam wall for panoramic views of the lake and rolling countryside. The wall is 232 metres long and 33.5 metres high.

Picnic areas

Picnic areas near the dam wall and at The Reef Reserve also provide vantage points.

HOURS - Entry is free

  • Picnic areas open during daylight hours

Oberon Visitor Information Centre

  • Phone 02 6329 8210

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

Barbecues icon

Barbecues

Boat ramps icon

Boat ramps

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Picnic Shelters

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Toilets

Things to do

Picnic

There are two picnic areas on the lake. The main picnic area is near the dam wall and there is a picnic area at The Reef Reserve off Abercrombie Road. Both picnic areas have shelters, electric barbecues and toilets. Swimming, camping and the lighting of fires is prohibited.

Canoe or kayak on the lake

Canoes, kayaks and small fishing or sailing dinghies are permitted on Lake Oberon. A public launching site is provided off The Reef Reserve. Only unpowered or electric boats are permitted.

Fishing

Brown and rainbow trout are stocked annually, and redfin are increasingly common. Fly fishing is very popular on the dam and in local streams which are also famous for their trout. Top fishing spots are between the dam wall and golf course, The Reef Reserve and Kelly’s Bay. At 1068 metres above sea level, Lake Oberon is classed as alpine waters so life jackets are required.

Map and directions

Oberon Dam is 3 kilometres south of Oberon on the NSW Central Tablelands. Oberon is about 190 kilometres west of Sydney via the Great Western Highway and Jenolan Caves Road.

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

Oberon Dam is situated on the Fish River about 3 kilometres south of Oberon on the NSW Central Tablelands. The dam is about 190 kilometres west of Sydney.

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OBERON DAM

Facts and History

Oberon Dam is situated on the Fish River about 3 kilometres south of Oberon on the NSW Central Tablelands. The dam is about 190 kilometres west of Sydney.

Oberon Dam has a capacity of 45,000 megalitres, making it a medium size but important water storage because of its role in the Fish River water supply scheme. This unique regional water supply scheme is the only one in eastern Australia to transfer western flowing water east of the Great Dividing Range.

The dam is one of only seven concrete slab and buttress dams in Australia, and of these dams has the highest wall and largest storage capacity.

Why the dam was built

The Fish River water supply scheme has its origins in chronic water supply problems in the towns of Lithgow, Wallerawang, Portland and Oberon as early as 1937, which were exacerbated by the 1940s drought. Small local schemes were rejected in favour of a regional scheme but funding delays stopped the start of works.

World War II and the need for Australian-sourced fuel re-started the project in 1943 with an expanded scope to include water supply to the Glen Davis shale oil works. The early 1950s saw the closure of the shale oil works but the creation of new power stations for electricity generation at Wallerawang.

Today the scheme supplies water to Wallerawang and Mount Piper power stations, to Oberon and Lithgow councils for domestic and industry use, and to more than 200 landholders along its length. It also supplements town supplies in the upper Blue Mountains.

How the dam was built

Oberon Dam’s original concrete slab and buttress wall was 21.3 metres high, although the foundations and buttress bases were built to allow later raising to its maximum design height of 33.5 metres.

Work started in 1943 and was largely finished in 1947. Work continued until 1949 on completing stage 1 of the Fish River scheme, which included a 105-kilometre pipeline from the dam at Oberon through Wallerawang and Portland to Glen Davis, and a 15 kilometre branch pipeline from Wallerawang to Lithgow.

Stage 2 of the Fish River scheme included raising the Oberon Dam wall and outlet tower to its current height of 33.5 metres and building a ski jump spillway into the main wall.

Work on the dam started in 1954 and finished in 1957. Work continued until 1959 on completing stage 2 of the Fish River scheme, which included additional small reservoirs at Rydal and Lidsdale, and a connection for the future pipeline to the Blue Mountains.

Later improvements

To meet modern safety standards, in 1996 a fuse plug spillway was built just north of the wall to divert floodwaters around the dam in a rare and extreme flood so as to protect the dam and ensure it remains safe in an extreme flood. The dam's spillway channel had earlier been widened in 1989.

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WaterNSW acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we work and pay our respects to all elders past, present and emerging. Learn more