Media Release- Dam 13 Safety
3rd March 2022

Late yesterday afternoon NSW SES issued an alert for residents in North Richmond to evacuate downstream of a dam identified by SES as “Redbank Dam”. That Dam is known as Dam 13 on the NSW Dam Safety register. It seems that a miscommunication may have occurred during this chaotic time for personnel within SES, and the evacuation order for the identified zone below Dam 13 may not have been necessary. Notwithstanding this, we should reiterate that the community should follow the directions of SES, RFS and NSW Police.

Dam 13 which was an old farm dam, has been reengineered and reconstructed by Redbank Communities to enhance safety and water quality, as well as to facilitate the channelling of water into the Redbank Creek during an overflow event. There are several engineered elements within and outside the dam structure (swales, culverts, large overflow grates, headwalls, sediment controls etc.) to enhance safety and structural integrity of the dam and the drainage network within the Redbank estate.

In addition to that, Dam 13 has also been prescribed on NSW Dam Safety Register, which is a government authority, and requires ongoing inspections both outside of rain events and during rain events with real-time monitoring. Redbank Communities is required to follow designated protocols and inform the Dam Safety Authority of the current Dam levels based on a three-tier system (Code- White, Amber, and Red).

In a rain event like we are currently experiencing, as the inflows increase, so does the dam level, at which time a two-staged overflow system operates. Both systems are designed to handle major rain events and channels water through large pipes under Yobarnie Avenue into an open channel and culvert system below the RSL Lifecare Retirement Village, and then continues within the designated channel to the Redbank Creek.

After several physical inspections throughout the day and night, the overflow system was performing well within its designed parameters, with significant capacity still available for even greater inflows. Early this morning during further inspection, the level of Dam 13 had dropped substantially as the drainage system had reduced the dam level, which highlights the fact that even with a large volume of water the design of the dam and drainage system worked as it had been engineered to perform. There was no time during the recent event that the Dam was at risk of failing as had been mentioned in the media. We wish to reiterate that the engineered integrity of Dam 13 performed as expected ensuring the safety of the downstream community. As per inspections this morning (3rd March 2022), Dam 13 is at “Code White”, meaning it is at minimum overflow volume.

Redbank Communities would like to acknowledge the great work of SES and RFS volunteers for their commitment in supporting the community in many disasters including this current flooding event. According to the SES Website update, issued at 03/03/2022 07:21 AM, NSW SES is directing residents and businesses to evacuate only Patya Place, North Richmond and 38 to 54A and 53-55 Keda Crescent, North Richmond by 9am Thursday 3rd March which is due to the rising level of the Hawkesbury River, not in any way related to Dam 13 in Redbank.

Our team has been in constant contact with NSW SES and Hawkesbury City Council with continuous updates in the lead up to the rain event and during the event yesterday afternoon. We have also requested SES to update their communication channels to reflect the most recent updates on Dam 13.

Our thoughts are with those affected during this flood event along the east coast of Australia, and we look forward to working closely with NSW SES now and in the future.