Copperlode Falls Dam Emergency Action Plan

Copperlode Dam EAP Review 2018

The Redlynch Valley area experienced a severe rainfall event on the evening of 26 March 2018. Shortly after, Cairns Regional Council commissioned specialist consultants, Ironside Risk Partners, to undertake an independent review of the Copperlode Dam Emergency Action Plan (EAP) to identify any improvements that could be made to the plan and to assess its application during the major weather event.

This review has been completed and Council will now set about implementing recommendations contained within it. Council will continue to progress the installation of an early warning system to notify the population at risk in the extremely unlikely event of a dam emergency.

Download the Copperlode Dam EAP Review report ( PDF, 0.49 MB ), or view a printed copy at Libraries or Council’s Customer Service Centre (Spence Street, Cairns).

For questions or comments on the Copperlode EAP Review, you can:

Redlynch Valley rainfall event review 2018

Following this severe rainfall event, Council also engaged specialist consultants, BMT WBM Pty Ltd, to undertaken an independent forensic review in order to assess and determine the cause of the associated flash flooding in the Redlynch Valley area.

About the EAP

As the owner of Copperlode Falls Dam, Cairns Regional Council (Council) has a legal obligation under the Queensland State Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 to have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP).

The EAP has provisions regarding the identification, detection and management of dam hazards, as well as dam hazard and emergency events and how effective warnings and notifications are communicated to those potentially impacted.

The EAP details the processes that will be activated to notify people who live immediately downstream of the Copperlode Falls Dam who may potentially be affected in the unlikely event of a dam failure that may cause property damage or endanger human life.

While the likelihood of a dam failure is extremely low, Council’s priority is always focused on the safety of our community and our visitors.

As an enhancement to the current EAP, we are deploying the latest technology to improve our early warning system in the unlikely event of an emergency such as dam failure, severe flooding, or fire.

Outdoor warning stations, consisting of speakers mounted to a series of towers, will be positioned throughout the Redlynch Valley from Crystal Cascades to Brinsmead.  Please refer to the location map to view approximate locations for each station. ( PDF, 6.07 MB )

Should an emergency occur, activation of the outdoor warning stations is one component of our multi-channel communications that provide real-time alerts and information to residents and visitors.  These include text messages, phone calls, radio broadcasting and social media messaging.


You can view the Copperlode Falls Dam EAP in full below.

Copperlode Falls Dam EAP   ( PDF, 0.72 MB )

Appendix 1 – General Arrangement Drawings ( PDF, 0.73 MB )

  • General Arrangement of Dam
  • Dam Embankment Details
  • Spillway Details

Appendix 2 - Emergency Notifications & Communications ( PDF, 2.36 MB )

  • Sunny Day Failure (RP1) Communications Flowchart
  • Probable Maximum Flood (RP2 & RP3) Communications Flowchart
  • Sunny Day Failure (RP1) Communication Protocol
  • Probable Maximum Flood (RP2 & RP3) Communication Protocol
  • Emergency Messaging
  • Queensland Emergency Alert Request Forms – SDF & PMF
  • Media Template Copperlode EAP Evacuation 1
  • Media Template EAP Sunny Day Failure Follow-up
  • Council’s Disaster Management Media Release Templates
  • Major Floor Warning Freshwater Valley – Evacuation Notice (p. 19)
  • Official Evacuation Advice (p. 24)
  • Evacuation Recommendation (pp. 26-27)

Appendix 3 – NEAS Polygon Map ( PDF, 2.36 MB )

Appendix 4 – Templates for Documentation and Reporting ( PDF, 0.42 MB )

  • Event Log
  • Record of Conversation
  • Copperlode Falls Dam Spilling Event Communication Sheet: Send to Local Disaster
  • Management Group
  • Dam Spilling Event Notification Form
  • Copperlode Falls Dam Emergency Event Report

Appendix 5 – Desktop & Field Exercises ( PDF, 0.1 MB )

  • Recent EAP Desktop and Field Exercises detailed by year

Appendix 6 – Public Information Mapping ( PDF, 2.19 MB )

  • Copperlode Falls Dam EAP Emergency Evacuation Maps

Appendix 7 – Inundation Maps ( PDF, 6.75 MB )


Flood Evacuation Zones are modelled using geographical data and may not be an exact representation of what an event may result in. Evacuation points are designed to provide an easy to understand method for the public to identify higher ground in the very rare instance of a Dam Failure Event.  While every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of this data, Cairns Regional Council makes no representations or warranties about its accuracy, reliability, completeness or suitability for any particular purpose and disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including without limitations, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages, (including indirect or consequential damages) and costs which you might incur as a result of the data.

Copperlode Falls Dam Early Warning Systems

The latest technology in early warning systems is currently being deployed to be used in the unlikely event of an emergency event such as dam failure, severe flooding or fire in the Redlynch Valley and lower Brinsmead areas. These areas are located downstream of the Copperlode Falls Dam.

The Early Warning System includes communications via SMS, phone calls, emails, radio, social media and strategically located Outdoor Warning Stations. We have a Mass Notification System (Cairns Alert) which we will use to send out the multi-channel communications to those who have opted into the service (including renters in the affected areas). Distribution lists for this service will also be produced from Council’s rates database to ensure property owners and owner occupiers are reached.

Outdoor Warning Stations consist of a series of towers housing the audible and visual warning systems mounted at a height of 15 - 20m above the ground on metal poles. There will be seven towers strategically located throughout the Redlynch Valley from Crystal Cascades to Brinsmead. Please refer to the location maps to view approximate locations for each station ( PDF, 6.07 MB ).

Installation of the Outdoor Warning Stations will begin in January 2018 and a project timeline ( PDF, 0.1 MB ) for installation has been developed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Further detail addressing the likelihood of a dam failure, the areas which may be affected, communication to schools and persons at risk, and impacts to the potentially affected community is enclosed in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) ( PDF, 0.24 MB ).

Cairns Disaster Dashboard

The Cairns Disaster Dashboard collates crucial information from Council, emergency services, utilities such as Ergon and Telstra, road status updates, and traffic and flood cameras to provide a single point of reference during a disaster.

Residents can also sign up for Cairns Alert! to receive disaster-related information via email or text message.

More information

Read or download the frequently asked questions ( PDF, 0.07 MB ) to learn more about the Copperlode Falls Dam Emergency Action Plan.

Should you have any enquiries or require additional information, please send an email to the project team

Last updated: 13 June 2018