Hydrology Mary V

Author : J. V. Hodgkinson F. C. A. Chartered Accountant : Aug 2006 to November 2013    

The principal thrust of this website is
FLOOD PROOFING BRISBANE from damaging floods to the point of extinction. MITIGATING flooding in Ipswich and Gympie. Putting REAL MEANING into "Drought proofing SEQ" and ensuring our water supplies by natural means well into the future

This is my review based on official statistics and documents. It is done in conjunction with Ron McMah, grazier of Imbil and Trevor Herse, retired of the Gold Coast




May 2009: No change

Efficiency of the Borumba Dam catchment. Local residents observations

The local residents have long contended that the topography of the Borumba Dam and its catchment was more efficient than the total Mary Valley catchment. The Borumba Dam and its catchment are in the Mary Valley catchment and the waters of the Yabba Creek, on which it is located, joins the Mary River before the Traveston Dam crossing. We will now examine available evidence.

They are further of the opinion that the rock formations Google Bor Close.jpg (399516 bytes)of the Borumba Dam have the ability toRock TH.JPG (491539 bytes) provide a Dam with a capacity of up to 2 million megalitres. This is almost twice the size of the Wivenhoe. Reference is Mr. R. McMah's submission to the Senate Enquiry. This is considered in the "Borumba Dam" button along with Mr. McMah's submission.

They also contend that 50mm of rain in the catchment will raise the level of current Dam by 2 meters. The current capacity is 46,000ML. We know from Somerset experience that the minimum is 100mm to create flow. It is much higher in the Wivenhoe.

All of these matters have the capacity to influence the yield of Borumba.


These calculations are based on information provided by the Borumba Dam Managers at the time of the 1999 flood. In the area of peak discharges, they differ markedly from the Department of Natural Resources information contained in the "Borumba Dam " button.

Examination of inflow by the Borumba catchment in relation to the total Mary Valley system to the Traveston Crossing.

The Queensland Water Infrastructure Pty Ltd, a division of the Queensland Government, has publicly provided an overview of Gympie Flood Mitigation. It is dated 31st October 2006. It deals with the "Events" of 1999,1992,1989 March,1989 April and 1974.

It provides in cubic meters per second an actual Flood Mitg 1999.jpg (74680 bytes)hydrograph of the rainfall and over the hours that it occurred. It was just a short step to convert cubic meters to Megalitres. A sample is attached. All of these events follow later in this section.



A recent update of the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam Flood volumes in megalitres Qld Gov Infra.jpg (231998 bytes)included the attached information on theFlood volumes in megalitres Qld Gov EXPAND.jpg (163401 bytes) Megalitres that the Spillway had to deal with in the various "Events" mentioned above. 



The other information provided enables one to calculate the impact of the Borumba Dam. It is the information Gympie times P1.jpg (323632 bytes)provided by an article in the Gympie TimesGympie Times P2.jpg (361826 bytes) dated 18th February 1999. The " State Water Projects Regional business Manager" has supplied "peak discharge rates per day" for the events of 1999, 1974 and 1989. He also advised that the 1999 event saw one half of Sydney Harbour go over the spillway in a single day. The hydrology shows that 2 days at this rate applied over the 120 hours and it amounts to 500,000 Megalitres.


We now have "peak discharge rates per day" for the Borumba Catchment. In addition we have the duration of the floods and can calculate the Megalitres discharged.

The total Megalitres for the entire Mary Valley catchment has been arrived at from two Government sources and is verifiable.

With the known catchment sizes at 2200 sq klms for the entire Mary Valley to the Traveston Crossing and The Borumba catchment of 466 sq klms within that catchment, the volume in megalitres that can be attribute to Borumba can be calculated and compared with what actually occurred.

The calculations follow :-

Hydro Calcs MV plus bor share Page 1.jpg (173049 bytes)Hydro Calcs MV plus bor share Page  2.jpg (147192 bytes)




The local residents are correct. There is a high degree of consistency in the years of 1999, 1989 April and 1974 where the flow across the Borumba spillway is known. The percentage of water through the Traveston Crossing from the Borumba Dam are 1.72, 1.82 and 1.86 respectively higher than the other sources of the Mary Valley catchment. 

The provision of water via Borumba percentage are 34.8, 36.9 and 37.7. As expected, they are consistent.

This information has major implication on the yield calculations of the Borumba Dam and its catchment.

Appendix : other Hydrological graphs mentioned above.


Flood BOM guage heights 1880 to 2006.jpg (164816 bytes)The 1893 flood height on the Gympie gauge has been ignored most probably for technical reasons. On the Brisbane Gauge it registered much higher than the 1974 flood. We have seen that the catchments of the Wivenhoe/Somerset system rainfall pattern is remarkably similar to the Mary Valley. We see in this Brisbane gauge  that the 1841, 1844 and 1893 are far higher than the 1974 flood shown in this section. The comparison of rainfall in the rainfall stations singled out by SEQWater on the 10th February 2007 is illuminating. Crows Nest Feb 1893 was 769mm and Jan 1974 was 527mm. Kilcoy Feb 1893 was 1,422mm and Jan 1974 was 417mm. Esk Feb 1893 was 1,036mm and Jan 1974 was 633mm.
These original Bureau records can be viewed in the "Uncommon events" button

The rainfall data from the Bureau of Meteorology could not possibly have created the inflow of March 1989. There was a high inflow in December 1988 possibly coupled with the March figures. There may have been overlapping of March and April 1989. I do not have the daily figures and I have therefore ignored March 1989.

Flood Mitg 1989 Mar and Apr.jpg (117032 bytes)Flood Mitg 1992.jpg (92362 bytes)Flood Mitg 1974.jpg (80228 bytes)