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Spillway Creek at the Ord Dam. Image credit: Gary Fisher

Water Corporation has closed Pannikin Bay and is urging people in the East Kimberley to avoid the area, as the Ord Dam overflows following heavy rainfall. 

North West Regional Manager, Sharon Broad, said the dam was continuing to rise and large volumes of water were discharging from the bay.

“The huge volume of water going over the spillway is fast-flowing and turbulent, making the area very dangerous,” Ms Broad said. 

“It’s important the public heed the clear warning signs that are in place and not put themselves at risk by entering the area.”

Ms Broad said Water Corporation was continuing to monitor dam levels, and would provide an update once the area was reopened.

The Ord Dam level is currently 93.88m Australian Height Datum (AHD), flowing at 1.65 metres over the spillway and discharging water at a rate of 345,000 litres per second. At capacity, the dam holds more than 21 times the amount of water in Sydney Harbour.  

Water Corporation is also monitoring the Kununurra Diversion Dam (KDD), where fast-flowing water is hazardous within an exclusion zone 200m upstream and downstream of the dam wall. Pedestrians and boats are prohibited from entering the exclusion zone year-round.  

“People who ignore signage and illegally enter the area by jumping fencing can easily be swept into the turbulent water,” Ms Broad said.

“We do not want any member of the community, whether they are fishing or simply sightseeing, to put themselves at risk.”

If you are required to navigate the Ord River during periods of increased rainfall, or have pumping or other ancillary equipment near the river, please consider the risks and preventative measures. This includes ensuring you have adequate fuel supplies on board, as boats will use more fuel in the increased flow conditions. 

Media contact:
Eva Buckley
Senior Advisor - Customer & Stakeholder
P: (08) 9420 2085
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