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Oberon Dam An alpine lake famed for its trout

Oberon
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Status Open to Public
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Visit the Dam

Facilities

  • Barbecues
  • Picnic areas
  • Toilets
  • Fishing
  • Boat ramps
  • Bushwalking

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 nearby power stations 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.

Things to do

  • Picnic
  • Canoe or kayak on the lake
  • Fishing

Opening hours

Dam grounds

Picnic areas open during daylight hours, all year round. Entry is free. Oberon Visitor Information Centre 02 6329 8210.

Directions

View in Maps

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.

Facilities

  • Barbecues
  • Picnic areas
  • Toilets
  • Fishing
  • Boat ramps
  • 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 Oberon Dam Experience

Things to see and do

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

Dam Summary

34
Metres High
Length: 232 metres
Size of lake:
4 km 2
45 gl total operating capacity
Catchment: 140 square kilometres

Facts & 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.

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.


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 fuse plug 1 trigger level.
  • Notification - Fuse Plug 1 is expected to breach, releasing large volumes of water. This is designed to protect the stability of the dam.Y ou are advised to move to higher ground and if necessary evacuate.

Fuse plug 2 trigger level alert

  • Trigger - Storage level has reached fuse plug 2 trigger level.
  • Notification - Fuse Plug 2 is expected to breach, releasing large volumes of water. This is designed to protect the stability of the dam. You are advised to move to higher ground and if necessary evacuate..

Red alert

  • Trigger - Storage level has reached dam 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 - Spillway flows (uncontrolled*) are expected.
  • Notification - Oberon dam is at 100% capacity and is expected to begin spilling..

* refers to automatic spillway flows at ungated dams once storage capacity exceeds 100%.


High regulated releases

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

There are no high regulated releases at oberon dam


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
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
60.0
Oberon Dam
Thursday 17 May