Why do we no longer need a dam in Brownhill Creek?

Why do we no longer need a dam in Brownhill Creek when every solution prior to 2012 required one?


Back in 2012 and before a dam was always seen as part of the answer. Every engineering solution included a dam, somewhere. It was politically unpopular in some quarters however having said that.

Now the Project says we do not need a dam to achieve the flooding protection desired. Many people against the dam are reminding us that all the engineering solutions do not require a dam.

Interestingly before the change of focus on a no dam solution ALL the engineering solutions included a dam. A complete turnaround.

We have moved from a continuous we must have a dam to an emphatic a dam is not necessary. What has caused this I ask?

Some time ago all 5 councils endorsed looking at no dam solutions. We did this in my opinion to ensure we have given due diligence by searching all possible options.

Within it seems days this had become in the public arena that the 5 councils had endorsed a “preferred no dam” policy. This soon became the ideology of the Project too, reinforcing the public expectation. And more recently of course the public consultation was based on the Project presenting (without Council approval I hasten to add) a preference for a no dam solution.

It is my opinion that the project have got caught up in the politics of the situation and became hell bent on providing the solution that they thought they were charged to find rather than find the right solution. Promoting one solution, particularly one that appears to be the politically expedient one, in a public consultation gives me cause to think this way.

So in an environment where experts are advising the intensity of rainfall in the hills face will be greater than when we needed a dam we now don’t need a dam.

I find it difficult therefore to believe that the solution does not include a dam as part of the solution.


  1. Trevin   •  

    I understand that all previous unencumbered independent expert reports recommended a dam be included for good reason. The Project could not be expected to produce an unbiased, independent report for the best and most effective solution when it has been instructed to report with very specific limiting instructions to not “prefer” any solution including a dam.
    The promotion of the limited conclusion of The Project as the “preferred” option has contributed to the misconception by the community that Option D is “preferred” as the best option (of all the Options) by the Councils. Build a dam into the total solution as recommended by the independent experts.

  2. Mike   •  

    Unfortunately Trevin what you call the ‘previous unencumbered independent expert reports’ were based on data that was out of date and contained errors. A lot of people new this at the time but unfortunately those ‘in charge’ weren’t willing to listen and amend their reports after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on them.

    If you study ‘all the reports’ you will find that Option D is the standout solution to mitigate the flooding risk in the wider catchment.

    It’s a good thing that the Stormwater Managment Authority will look at this as it is apparent that Elected Members of one Council in particular can’t see the bigger picture and are only focused on what happens within their borders.

    • Trevin   •  

      Thanks Mike. You are correct, in that there is one Council in particular which can’t seem to see the bigger picture on this issue and is only focused on what happens within one small area within their borders despite the direct impact on many of their own residents and residents of the neighbouring Council. Option B2 is obviously the best option as it meets all the criteria for flood mitigation, is outside the recreation Park and reduces to a minimum the amount of “rehabilitation” in suburban gardens in Mitcham and Unley. A dam is essential to provide some control over floodwaters from any future significant rain event, whether the rain at the time complies with the current data or the data applicable at the time of the event.

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