North Pine Dam is built
across the North Pine
River, north-west of Brisbane, within
Moreton Bay in Queensland, Australia.
The damming of North Pine River created an artificial lake called
Lake Samsonvale to secure a supply of drinking water for the
Moreton Bay region and Brisbane's northern suburbs.
Design and capacity
The North Pine Dam is a mass concrete dam designed by the
Department of Local Government, with the Co-ordinator General's
Department supervising construction contracts. The cost of the dam
Its dam wall is 580 metres long and 40 metres high, with a central
section on which five steel gates are installed.
The dam has a storage capacity of 214,960 megalitres with a
catchment area of 348 km². As at May 2009, it is storing
approximately 214,960 megalitres - 100% of its capacity.
The North Pine Dam opened on 12 August
by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane City Council
. The accompanying water
treatment plant is also managed by South East Queensland
The dam meant that many of the surrounding grazing and dairy farms
were compulsorily acquired, and the only evidence of these farms is
now the names of roads leading to the lake's shoreline, such as
Winn Road and Golds Creek Road. Golds Creek Road now leads only to
the Samsonvale Cemetery; prior to the flooding of the dam, the site
was also home to a church and a post office. To allow for the dam's
flooding, 27 kilometres of road had to be relocated and
In May 2007, the dam, which was providing about 100 ML per day or
20% of the South East
region's water supply, was taken offline as a safety
precaution. This was due to a drought
in which water levels had
dropped to 14% capacity, the lowest since it was built. The
cessation of water supply was meant to protect the dam from
potential blue green algae
the coming summer months. The operators continued to release
between 8-10 million litres per day to service the North Pine
The North Pine Dam was designed with little flood mitigation
capacity in mind, being
designed only for water storage. As such, during flood seasons the
location of the dam spillway causes the flooding and closure of
Youngs Crossing Road.
Flood conditions last affected the dam catchment in 2009, and prior
to that 1991, 1989 and 2000.
The dam wall is also one of the few in Queensland to be located
upstream of a large urban area, and in the event of overtopping or
dam failure, Geoscience
suggests that the downstream urban population would
be flooded within three hours.
Recreational use of the lake and its surrounding bushland reserve
is severely limited, with prohibited recreational activities
including swimming, water skiing, diving, mountain biking, horse
riding, canoeing and kayaking, camping, and bushwalking.
Picnic facilities are available at four locations around the dam,
with access prohibited outside of daylight hours.
For many years fishing was banned in the dam. Lake Samsonvale has
with fresh water fish,
including spangled perch
, snub-nosed garfish
, golden perch
, eastern freshwater
and Australian bass
, with varying levels of
The dam is also home to the noxious species tilapia
which is a fine eating sportfish in its
larger sizes but tends to overpopulate and stunt if uncontrolled,
as well as a population of Australian red claw crayfish
usually native only to Northern Queensland. Both the tilapia and
red claw species are the target of considerable local effort for
their capture and complete removal.
Like various other Queensland freshwater fisheries, a council
permit is required to fish in North Pine Dam.
All boating on the lake is prohibited except through the Lake
Samsonvale Water Sports Association. The fishing club has been
granted a maximum of 200 permits to its members and outboard motors