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North Pine Dam

North Pine Dam

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North Pine Dam is built across the North Pine River
North Pine River
North Pine River flows from the D'Aguilar Range in the Mount Mee State Forest, approximately 50 km north-west of Brisbane, to its convergence with South Pine River at Lawnton, Queensland, Australia.-History:...

, north-west of Brisbane
Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of over 2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred around Brisbane, encompasses a population of...

, within Moreton Bay
Moreton Bay Regional Council
The Moreton Bay Region is a Local Government Area located in South East Queensland, Australia, immediately to the north of Brisbane, the state capital...

 in Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

, Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...


The damming of North Pine River created an artificial lake called Lake Samsonvale to secure a supply of drinking water for the Moreton Bay region and Brisbane's northern suburbs.

Design and capacity

The North Pine Dam is a mass concrete dam designed by the Department of Local Government, with the Co-ordinator General's Department supervising construction contracts. The cost of the dam was A$
Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is the currency of the Commonwealth of Australia, including Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent Pacific Island states of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu...

20 million.

Its dam wall is 580 metres long and 40 metres high, with a central concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

A spillway is a structure used to provide the controlled release of flows from a dam or levee into a downstream area, typically being the river that was dammed. In the UK they may be known as overflow channels. Spillways release floods so that the water does not overtop and damage or even destroy...

 section on which five steel gates are installed.

The dam has a storage capacity of 214,960 megalitres with a catchment area of 348 kmĀ². As at May 2009, it is storing approximately 214,960 megalitres - 100% of its capacity.


The North Pine Dam opened on 12 August 1976 by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane City Council, Alderman Frank Sleeman
Frank Sleeman
Frank Northey Sleeman was Lord Mayor of Brisbane from 1976 to 1982.-Early life and education:Sleeman grew up in Redfern, Sydney. He attended Canterbury Boys' High School.-Military Service and Prisoner of War:...

. The accompanying water treatment plant is also managed by South East Queensland Water.

The dam meant that many of the surrounding grazing and dairy farms were compulsorily acquired, and the only evidence of these farms is now the names of roads leading to the lake's shoreline, such as Winn Road and Golds Scrub Lane. Golds Scrub Lane now leads only to the Samsonvale Cemetery; prior to the flooding of the dam, the site was also home to a church and a post office. To allow for the dam's flooding, 27 kilometres of road had to be relocated and rebuilt.

In May 2007, the dam, which was providing about 100 ML per day or 20% of the South East Queensland
South East Queensland
South East Queensland is a region of the state of Queensland in Australia, which contains approximately two-thirds of the state population...

 region's water supply, was taken offline as a safety precaution. This was due to a drought
Drought in Australia
Drought in Australia is defined as rainfall over a three month period being in the lowest decile of what has been recorded for that region in the past. This definition takes into account that drought is a relative term and rainfall deficiencies need to be compared to typical rainfall patterns...

 in which water levels had dropped to 14% capacity, the lowest since it was built. The cessation of water supply was meant to protect the dam from potential blue green algae blooms in the coming summer months. The operators continued to release between 8-10 million litres per day to service the North Pine River.

Flood mitigation

The North Pine Dam was designed with little flood mitigation
Flood mitigation
Flood mitigation involves managing the effects of flooding, such as redirecting flood run-off, rather than trying to prevent it altogether. It is management of people, through measures such as evacuation and dry/wet proofing properties for example....

 capacity in mind, being designed only for water storage. As such, during flood seasons the location of the dam spillway causes the flooding and closure of Youngs Crossing Road.

Flood conditions last affected the dam catchment in October 2010, and prior to that 1991, 1989 and 2000 & 2009.

The dam wall is also one of the few in Queensland to be located upstream of a large urban area, and in the event of overtopping or dam failure, Geoscience Australia
Geoscience Australia
Geoscience Australia is an agency of the Australian federal government. It carries out geoscientific research.On a user pays basis it produces geospatial products such as topographic maps and satellite imagery.-History:...

 suggests that the downstream urban population would be flooded within three hours.

Recreational uses

Recreational use of the lake and its surrounding bushland reserve is severely limited, with prohibited recreational activities including swimming, water skiing, diving, mountain biking, horse riding, canoeing and kayaking, camping, and bushwalking.

Picnic facilities are available at four locations around the dam, with access prohibited outside of daylight hours.


For many years fishing was banned in the dam. Lake Samsonvale has been stocked
Fish stocking
Fish stocking is the practice of raising fish in a hatchery and releasing them into a river, lake, or the ocean to supplement existing populations, or to create a population where none exists...

 by Pine Rivers Fish Stocking Association www.prfma.com.au with fresh water fish, including spangled perch, snub-nosed garfish, golden perch
Golden perch
The golden perch, Macquaria ambigua, is an Australian native freshwater fish, primarily of the Murray-Darling river system. It is not a true perch of the genus Perca....

, silver perch
Silver Perch
Silver perch is a medium sized freshwater fish endemic to the Murray-Darling river system in south-eastern Australia. The scientific name comes from an aboriginal name for the species recorded by Major Mitchell on his 1832 expedition. It is not a perch, being a grunter in the family Terapontidae...

, eastern freshwater cod
Eastern freshwater cod
Eastern freshwater cod, Maccullochella ikei, also known as eastern cod, are a large and striking predatory freshwater fish of the Maccullochella genus and the Percichthyidae family, that occur in the coastal Clarence River system of north-eastern New South Wales...

, saratoga
Saratoga (fish)
The saratoga, Scleropages leichardti, also known as the spotted bonytongue, spotted saratoga, or southern saratoga, is a freshwater bony fish native to Australia. It belongs to the subfamily Osteoglossinae, or arowanas, a primitive group of teleosts. Like all arowanas, it is a carnivorous...

 and Australian bass
Australian bass
Australian bass are a small to medium sized, primarily freshwater native fish found in coastal rivers and streams along the east coast of Australia. They are a member of the Percichthyidae family and, currently, the Macquaria genus. Australian bass are an iconic, highly predatory native fish...

, with varying levels of success.

The dam is also home to the noxious species tilapia
Tilapia , is the common name for nearly a hundred species of cichlid fish from the tilapiine cichlid tribe. Tilapia inhabit a variety of fresh water habitats, including shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes. Historically, they have been of major importance in artisan fishing in Africa and the...

 which is a fine eating sportfish in its larger sizes but tends to overpopulate and stunt if uncontrolled, as well as a population of Australian red claw crayfish
Australian red claw crayfish
Cherax quadricarinatus is an Australian freshwater crayfish.-Distribution and ecology:C...

, usually native only to Northern Queensland. Both the tilapia and red claw species are the target of considerable local effort for their capture and complete removal.

Like various other Queensland freshwater fisheries, a stocked impoundment permit (SIPS) is required to fish in North Pine Dam.


All boating on the lake is prohibited except through two groups. The Lake Samsonvale Water Sports Association and the stocking group Pine Rivers Fish Stocking Association have 300 permits to release each year for non petrol powered craft to members of the public for a small licence fee

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