A $94 million safety upgrade of the Kangaroo Creek Dam in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills is almost complete, with SA Water on track for completion in November.

Work at the site began in January 2016 with the upgrade set to help better manage major flood disasters and increase the dam’s ability to withstand earthquakes, aligning it with updated safety guidelines set by the Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD).

SA Water Acting Chief Executive, Mark Gobbie, said the sheer size of the construction site and the amount of activity happening on site on an almost daily basis demonstrates the magnitude of the project.

“However, it’s when you look at the many milestones that have been produced along the way, that it really becomes clear just how much has gone into delivering this upgrade safely and effectively,” Mr Gobbie said.

“At any one time, there is up to 115 workers on site, which has included local suppliers providing the concrete, steel-fixing and formwork. This also equates to a little over the same number of hard hats, safety glasses and pairs of steel caps being put to good use each day.”

“We’ve recently completed widening and raising the spillway, which has been made possible through the controlled blasting removal of more than 330,000m2 of rock from the nearby hillside.

To help strengthen the dam structure against earthquakes, the embankment has also been widened by around 45m reusing rock material from the blasting activities, and raised by five metres to help improve its flood protection capacity.

The variety of work required as part of this upgrade required a variety of equipment, such as cranes, excavators, bulldozers, dump trucks, concrete pumps and drill rigs.

19,000ML is the total capacity of Kangaroo Creek Reservoir, but early last year, the water level was gradually brought down to zero per cent.

“This was only the second time in the reservoir’s history it’s been emptied, and was to facilitate work on the upstream face of the dam embankment.

“Water released from the dam was either used to, where possible, support dilution flows into the Torrens Lake to help with the control of blue-green algae, or be fed into the Hope Valley Water Treatment Plant for drinking water supply.

“Rainfall and a small amount of water diverted from other parts of our network have since started to refill the reservoir, which is now sitting at around 35 per cent of capacity.”