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Information about the work of  Orange City Council, located in the Central West of NSW

Suma Park Dam Upgrade

Work has been completed on a major upgrade of Orange's main water supply dam, Suma Park Dam.

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HistorySuma Park Dam Construction .. Single click to see larger image

The dam was built in 1962  and since then the idea of raising the height of Suma Park dam has been a discussion point in the Orange community.

After a number of years of planning work, Orange City Council looked closely at the proposal to raise the height of the dam wall at Suma Park dam. The final project went ahead after a number of options were considered.

Project Milestones

The project went out to tender in June 2014 and in August 2014 the tender for the project was awarded  to Melbourne-based construction firm Geotech Pty Ltd. Construction work began in October 2014. The project is expected to be completed during the first half of 2016.


The Project

What was there before :

Currently, the Suma Park Dam is a water supply dam with a capacity of 18,000 megalitres

Before the construction project began :

  • The main dam wall consisted of a 30.5 metre high concrete arch dam with a central ungated spillway.
  • There was also  a 6 metre high earthfill, saddle dam located about 400 metres west of the main dam.
  • The outlet for the dam consists of an intake tower about 5 metres upstream of the main dam that conveys water to the pump station approximately 300 metres downstream, which delivers water to Icely Road and a treatment plant.

The spillway capacity of Suma Park Dam does not presently meet standards recommended by the NSW Dam Safety Committee (NSW DSC) and the Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) (Standards).

What will be constructed :

Orange City Council is proposing to upgrade Suma Park Dam by undertaking necessary works so that it complies with the Standards.

The work will include:

  • Raising the full supply level of Suma Park Dam by raising the main dam wall by 1 metre. While the height of the 60 metre wide spillway will increase by 1 metre, the height of the parapet walls on either side of the spillway will increase by 3 metres
  • Re-fitting the dam’s 35 metre high outlet tower to match contemporary operating standards. Currently a staff member climbs down internal ladders to manually open valves (placed at different water depths) which release water from the dam into the water treatment works. After the upgrade, the valves would be automated and all pipes and ladders replaced.
  • Constructing a new auxiliary spillway. This structure is around 1 km west of the dam wall. In the event of a major (1 in 500 year) flood event, water would be released in a controlled manner, rather than putting extra pressure on the dam wall.
  • The 'stilling basin' ant the base of the dam wall will also be strengthened, by ‘anchor-bolting’ the structure to rock foundations.

Project Funding

The project wil cost around $19 million and increase the capacity of the dam by 10%.

The cost of the project is being shared by Orange City Council and the NSW Government. The NSW Government's NSW Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Program is contributing 20% of the cost.