Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for Copperlode Falls Dam?

Council has had an EAP since 1998. State legislation requires every local government that owns a dam in Queensland to prepare and implement an EAP (the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008).

The EAP identifies roles and responsibilities, communication procedures, and dam specific emergency scenarios. The EAP means that there is a detailed procedure in place to deal with emergency situations, thereby reducing the impact on communities.

Following the Queensland Flood Commission Enquiry in 2012, which specifically investigated dam-related issues in southeast Queensland, more prescriptive requirements were placed on all registered dam owners throughout Queensland.

Although the Enquiry made recommendations in the context of southeast Queensland dams, the State has asked all dam owners throughout Queensland to implement certain recommendations.

Why do we need an Early Warning System?

The implementation of an Early Warning System is an enhancement to the current Copperlode Falls Dam EAP. This
enhancement was recommended following the 2012 Enquiry, and is something that all dam owners in Queensland are considering.

What is an Early Warning System?

The Early Warning System provides multiple emergency alerts to reach those impacted and encompasses multi-channel communications that are sent out to the persons at risk in the unlikely event of a dam failure. These communications will include SMS, phone calls, emails, radio, social media and notification via the Outdoor Warning Stations.

What is an Outdoor Warning Station?

The Outdoor Warning Stations (sirens) provide simultaneous communication across the valley to residents and others in the area at the time. The stations consist of a series of towers housing audible warning systems mounted at a height of 15-20m above the ground on metal poles.

Where will the Outdoor Warning Stations be located?

There will be up to nine towers located in the Redlynch Valley from Crystal Cascades to Brinsmead, in the areas that provide the best acoustic performance. They will be located on Council property. Every attempt will be made to minimise visual impact.

Please refer to the location map to view approximate locations for each station. ( PDF, 6.07 MB )

How much is this costing the ratepayer?

The cost of installation and commissioning of sirens is approximately $900,000. The safety of our community is our highest priority and we are ensuring we have the best technology available to us to deliver the best outcomes in the unlikely event of an emergency situation.

What is the likelihood of a dam failure?

The likelihood of a dam failure is extremely low. However, even though the likelihood of dam failure is extremely low, Council, as the owner of a dam, still has obligations under State legislation. These obligations include installing an Early Warning System.

When will these Outdoor Warning Stations be installed?

Installation works began in April 2019 and are proposed to be completed by year end, depending on favourable weather conditions. A community notification process will be undertaken to inform residents, businesses, schools etc. regarding the installation process.

Will the Outdoor Warning Stations emit a radio frequency?

Siren electronics do not generate any radio frequency energy. The radio used for wireless communication does generate a radio frequency energy.

The length of time the transmitter is used is no longer than 2 seconds per status command. Radio transmitters are just 5 watts in either VHF 136-174 MHz or UHF 450-470 MHz. At these frequencies, transmit power and length of transmitting time, the siren
radios are not harmful.

How will I be kept informed of updates, changes to processes, new information?

Any major changes to Emergency Action Plans will be communicated to stakeholders directly. Council’s website will continue to contain all relevant information, including updates.

How can I find out more about flood mapping?

Council publishes flood mapping which can be viewed on the Flood maps and data page of Council's website.

Where can I find out more information?

For more information, please email the project team on ewsproject@cairns.qld.gov.au or call Customer Service on 1300 69 22 47.

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Last updated: 21 February 2019