A wa­ter

Dam lot of

North East Living Magazine - - Community United by Cancer - Words Shane Douthie

HUME Dam, lo­cated 10km east of Al­bury, forms Hume Reser­voir (also known as Lake Hume) which is the main sup­ply stor­age and one of the two ma­jor head­wa­ter stor­ages for the River Mur­ray sys­tem.

The reser­voir is made up of a con­crete grav­ity dam and a se­ries of earth em­bank­ments that im­pound the River Mur­ray and the lower Mitta Mitta River.

The dam lo­ca­tion means that flows from the up­per Mur­ray, Mitta Mitta (Dart­mouth Reser­voir is up­stream of Hume on the Mitta Mitta River) and some wa­ter from the Snowy Scheme are reg­u­lated through Hume Reser­voir.

The pri­mary role of Hume Reser­voir is to reg­u­late and con­serve wa­ter for both hu­man con­sump­tion and the en­vi­ron­ment; its sec­ondary roles in­clude hy­dro­elec­tric power gen­er­a­tion and flood mit­i­ga­tion.

Hume Reser­voir has also be­come an im­por­tant recre­ation and tourist lo­ca­tion.

The dam was built fol­low­ing a num­ber of years of drought dur­ing the sec­ond half of the 1890s, cul­mi­nat­ing in a record dry year in 1902.

It was to pro­vide a re­li­able year-round sup­ply of wa­ter and as­sist the ex­pan­sion of irrigation and set­tle­ment along the Mur­ray.

A con­fer­ence was held at Corowa in April 1902 to dis­cuss the es­tab­lish­ment of an irrigation scheme for the south­ern Rive­rina and north­ern Vic­to­ria and an In­ter­state Royal Com­mis­sion on the River Mur­ray rec­om­mended the con­struc­tion of a stor­age on the Up­per Mur­ray at Cum­beroona, up­stream of the present dam site.

Be­tween 1903 and 1913, New South Wales, Vic­to­ria and South Aus­tralia at­tempted to ar­rive at a work­able agree­ment on the reg­u­la­tion and shar­ing of River Mur­ray wa­ters and in Novem­ber 1915, the River Mur­ray Wa­ter Agree­ment was rat­i­fied by Acts of Par­lia­ment and passed si­mul­ta­ne­ously by the Com­mon­wealth and the three states.

Hume Dam took 17 years to con­struct, its first fill­ing was in De­cem­ber 1934 and it was of­fi­cially opened on Novem­ber 21 1936.

Hume Dam was con­structed for the River Mur­ray Com­mis­sion by the New South Wales De­part­ment of Pub­lic Works and the State Rivers and Wa­ter Sup­ply Com­mis­sion of Vic­to­ria, as joint con­struct­ing au­thor­i­ties. At the time, the ca­pac­ity of the com­pleted reser­voir was 1522 GL (at a full sup­ply level of 182.9 m above sea level) but mod­i­fi­ca­tions be­tween 1950 and 1961 en­larged the reser­voir to its present ca­pac­ity of 3005 GL (at full sup­ply level of 192 m above sea level).

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