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How does a gated dam work?

The unprecedented rain event in Townsville caused the north Queensland city's Ross River Dam to reach more than 200% capacity, prompting authorities to open the spillway gates to their full capacity.

The release caused 1,900 cubic metres of water per second to flow downstream, inundating several Townsville suburbs.

The Ross River Dam is a gated dam and was built in 1971 for flood control and water storage, with a catchment area of 760 square kilometres.

The dam had a $115 million upgrade that was finished in 2007 to install three spillway gates to control the flow downstream and increase its capacity to 233,187 megalitres.

On Monday afternoon the dam was at 229% capacity and slowly falling, down from a peak of 244.8%.

The dam is owned and managed by the Townsville City Council with operational help from SunWater. 


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ABC News  8 February 2019