Cotter Dam   Leave a comment

Sunday, 23 June, 2013

Just outside Canberra is a series of large dams designed to keep supplying the area with a clean water supply. One of these, Cotter Dam, has just undergone a massive upgrade to its dam wall to increase the capacity from 4 Gigalitres (GL) to nearly 80 GL. Today they held an open day to show off the dam and its surrounding area and not one miss an opportunity like this, I dragged my arse out of bed early and drove up to the site for a look around.

On the way up, the guys on the radio were telling everyone that there were only two thousand places up for grabs on the tours that would be taking groups of people right up to and on top of the dam wall. I was getting a bit nervous at the prospect of not getting on a tour, as I approached the car parks at the foot of the dam. The car parks looked pretty full as I parked up so I rushed over to the sponsor’s tent, who were handing out free tickets for the tours. The one I got said 11:00am and as it around 9:20am I knew I had a bit of time to kill before I could board the coach. First things first, was to feed my face! So I wondered over to what looked like a camp kitchen run by the local Rotary Club, where I purchased a bacon and egg butty and a cup of coffee for breakfast.

Also on site was a fire truck from the local branch of the Rural Fire Service and after breakfast I had a long chat with a couple of the crew members on hand to explain how the service is run in the ACT. Turns out that most of the members are volunteers who give up their time to be on standby ready to be called into action 24/7.

Next on my travels was the authority responsible for the supply of water and sewage services to the ACT. They had a tent, in which, was a whole host of information relating to the water supply and the expansion of the Cotter dam to its current size. As I still had 40 minutes or so before the tour, I took a stroll along the river bank towards the dam to take a look at the newly built Cotter Dam Discovery Trail which leads up to a viewing platform overlooking the dam wall. Along the trail are loads of information panels describing the history of the dam and water supply in the area.

Back at the coach boarding point, I took up a position in the queue waiting for the 11:00am tour. Our guide told us that the tour would take 50 minutes to complete and went through some safety information before we set off up the service road into the construction site proper. Up at the dam wall, we disembarked the coach and walked across to the centre of the top of the newly constructed dam wall. From there we were told and shown how big the new Cotter reservoir will get, when it fills up over the coming months, we were also shown where the old dam wall was located under the surface of the water below us. Finally, we were left to wonder around the dam wall in order to take picture and ask questions of the construction workers and site representatives on hand.

On the way back into town, I passed a number of the ACT Rural Fire Service vehicles alongside the road on what looked like a training exercise to put out a controlled fire amongst some bush land. Looks like and interesting and rewarding activity!

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yermandownunder

A Blog about Mario's life down under!

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