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Hume Dam One of the largest dams in the world

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Status Open to Public
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Visit the Dam

Facilities

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

A triumph of engineering when it was built in the years after World War 1, Hume Dam caught the public imagination in the same way the Snowy Mountains Scheme did after World War II. When finished in 1936, Hume Dam was the biggest in the southern hemisphere and one of the largest in the world. Today the dam continues to play a critical role in capturing winter and spring rainfall from the Australian Alps and releasing it to regulate the flow of the River Murray.  As well as irrigation, the dam supplies stock and household needs for towns and landholders along the Murray River across three states, and is used for flood mitigation and hydro-electricity.

Lookout points

Dam wall

Walk across the dam wall for spectacular views east to Lake Hume and west to the River Murray. The 318-metre long concrete spillway is 51 metres high with a short earth embankment on the NSW side and a 1.2 kilometre long embankment across the river flats on the Victorian side, making a total length of 1.6 kilometres.

Hume Dam Wall Reserve

A viewing platform on the northern (NSW) side of the dam wall provides spectacular views of the lake and countryside.

 

Things to do

  • Camping
  • Water sports
  • Fishing

Opening hours

Lake foreshores

Hume Reservoir has 400km of shoreline much of which is followed by State Highways or secondary roads. There are many access points and boat ramps.

Directions

View in Maps

Hume Dam is 16 kilometres east of Albury on the NSW-Victorian border. Albury is 550 kilometres south-west of Sydney via the Hume Highway.

Facilities

  • Camping
  • 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:

  • No model aircraft or drones
  •  

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

The Hume experience

Top 3 things to see and do

1. Camp

Camping is permitted within a number of caravan parks surrounding Lake Hume’s foreshores, and these include a range of other accommodation options.

2. Water sports

Lake Hume is a popular destination for boating, water skiing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking and jet skiing. The lake offers a large expanse of water with multiple access points for boats and vehicles. The lake is divided between NSW and Victoria at Bethanga Bridge. Most boat ramps are located on the Victorian foreshore.

3. Fishing

Fishing is a popular recreational activity at Lake Hume. The lake is stocked each year with golden perch, and brown and rainbow trout. Murray cod are stocked in the Mitta River upstream of Lake Hume. Redfin and carp are also caught in the lake. You must have a current Victorian fishing licence, regardless of where you fish or for how long. Fishing licences are available for purchase at many local shops and from the Department of Primary Industry 

Dam Summary

42
Metres High
Length: 1,615 metres
Size of lake:
202 km 2
3,005 gl total operating capacity
Catchment: 15,300 square kilometres

Facts & History

Hume Dam is situated just below the junction of the Murray and Mitta Mitta rivers, 16 kilometres east of Albury on the NSW-Victorian border. The dam is about 550 kilometres south-west of Sydney, and about 300 kilometres downstream from where the Murray rises on the Great Dividing Range.

Hume Dam holds a maximum of 3,005,156 megalitres, about six times the volume of Sydney Harbour. The dam’s catchment area of 15,300 square kilometres, two thirds of which is in Victoria,  includes much of the rugged Australian Alps where annual rainfall can exceed 2000mm. Flows from the Snowy River may also be diverted into the catchment by the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme.

The dam is named after Hamilton Hume, the first European to explore the river upstream of Albury in 1824.

Why the dam was built

By the 1860s landholders were discussing ways of controlling the Murray River’s waters for better navigation, irrigation, and flood and drought control. The broader Australian community also saw the need for a dam to store winter and spring rainfall from the Australian Alps for summer release.

It was another 50 years until formal agreement to share water was reached between the Australian, NSW, Victorian and South Australian governments. Work on Hume Dam finally started in 1919 and took 17 years to complete.

When finished in 1936, Hume Dam was the biggest in the southern hemisphere and one of the world’s largest. It was hailed alongside Sydney Harbour Bridge as one of the mightiest Australian structures of the inter-war years and was one of the first great inter-government cooperative projects facilitated by Federation.  

Today, Hume Reservoir is the main storage on the River Murray system. It supplies water across three states for irrigated agriculture, environmental flows, town supplies, industry and domestic requirements, flood mitigation and recreation. Energy is produced by a 60 megawatt hydroelectric power station. The dam also supplements water supplies to South Australia from Lake Victoria and Menindee Lakes.

How the dam was built

The original structure at Hume Dam consisted of a concrete gravity section containing the spillway and outlet works across the river bed, a long earth embankment with a concrete core wall across the river flats on the southern (Victorian) end, and a short earth embankment on the northern (NSW) end. The curve of the dam wall follows a line of granite bedrock.

Construction began in 1919 and continued during the Great Depression until the project was finished in 1936. At its peak, over 1000 tradesmen and labourers used steam engines, horse-drawn carts and manual labour to build the massive dam.

Later, the Snowy Mountains Scheme resulted in increased flows in the River Murray and, as part of the scheme, it was agreed to double the storage to its current capacity of 3,005,000 megalitres.

Between 1950 and 1961, the dam was enlarged by adding 29 spillway gates on the main dam wall, building two extra earth embankments to prevent water flowing out through low saddles on the Victorian side, and placing post-tensioning cables through the dam wall to anchor it to the bedrock.

These works involved a large number of post-war migrants, the relocation of Tallangatta township, and the raising of Bethanga Bridge.

Later improvements

To meet modern dam safety standards, structural improvements were made during the 1980s and 1990s. In 2010 a further program of improvements began to increase dam safety in the event of extreme flooding and earthquakes, and to upgrade the dam in line with contemporary best practice.

These works included an improved filter and drainage system between the concrete spillway and southern embankment, and construction of a 50,000 tonne concrete buttress wall to strengthen the southern training wall.

EWN 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.

Early Warning Network Feed

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


Dam safety notifications

Alerts will be issued if in the following unlikely events:

  • There is a reasonable possibility of dam failure.
  • State Emergency Service require advance public warning to evacuate.

Amber alert

  • Trigger - Storage has conditions indicating future dam failure may be possible.
  • The notification will be - Hume Dam Amber alert. You are advised you may need to evacuate if directed to by emergency services.

Red alert

  • Trigger - Storage has conditions indicating dam failure is immanent.
  • The notification will be - Hume Dam Red alert. You may be advised to evacuate and follow emergency service's directions.
    You will be notified when conditions have changed to deactivate Amber or Red alert.

Flood notifications

Hume Dam Flood Operation - Commencement Notification

  • Flood operation commencement notifications will be issued when discharge from Hume Dam, combined with Kiewa River flow will result in a total flow clearly exceeding 25,000 ML/day at Doctors Point.
  • Trigger - Releases from Hume Dam, combined with Kiewa River flows will result in a total flow clearly exceeding 25,000 ML/day at Doctors Point.
  • The notification will be – Doctors Point flow expected to exceed 25,000 ML/Day. Hume Dam release is currently XX,000 ML/day. SES will provide flood advice.

Hume Dam Flood Operation – Controlled Release Notification

  • Flood operation Controlled Release Notifications will be issued for every increase in dam release and for every decrease in release until Doctors Point flow returns to below 25,000 ML/day.
  • Trigger - After issuing the Flood commencement notification, Controlled release notification to be issued for every increase in dam release and for every decrease in release until Doctors Point flow returns to below 25,000 ML/day.
  • The notification will be - Hume Dam releases are planned to increase/decrease to ZZ,000 ML/day by 00:00 AM/PM on DD/MM/YYYY. SES will provide flood advice.

More information

AgencyInformationWebsitePhone
NSW - Bureau of MeteorologyWeather forecasts and warningsNSW BOM1300 659 218
VIC - Bureau of MeteorologyWeather forecasts and warningsVIC BOM1300 659 217
NSW Algae HotlineAlgal alert details and algae levelsDPI Water1800 999 457
NSW State Emergency ServiceFlood or severe weather warnings/adviceNSW SES132 500
VIC State Emergency ServiceFlood or severe weather warnings/adviceVIC SES132 500
WaterNSW - Rural InformationStorage levels and river heightsWater infoN/A
WaterNSW Dam and rainfall levelsDam LevelsN/A
WaterNSWTo view or edit your registration detailsEWN1300 662 077
To provide feedback on our EWNFeedback1300 662 077
71.3
Tuesday 22 May
-0.8
1,841,964 ML
2,581,749 ML
6,351 ML
908 ML
-15,112 ML
Tuesday 22 May
33.8
Hume Dam
Tuesday 22 May