The raising of the Hinze dam in Australia has moved into the preparatory construction works stage following the Queensland state's approval of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the scheme.

Preparations are starting as the client awaits approval at the federal level from the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Water. The project is being undertaken by the dam owner, the Gold Coast City Council.

The height of the dam is to be raised by 15m by late 2010, which is designed to increase water resources to 225M litres/day but the key reason for the project is to improve flood management in the lower Nerang river catchment for one in 100 year flood events.

Raising the dam height is the ‘Stage III’ works on the scheme and is scheduled to begin in earnest early 2008. The works are being planned and to be undertaken by the Hinze Dam Alliance – a joint venture of Sinclair Knight Merz, URS and Theiss.

The Hinze dam was built in 1976 and then the capacity of the reservoir was increased under the ‘Stage II’ project in 1989, taking the embankment wall height to 93.5m. The ‘Stage III’ project will take the reservoir capacity to almost 310M m3, or about double the ‘Stage II’ storage.

Public access to the dam was ended earlier this month and this was followed with established of an exclusion zone to improve safety when there is an increase in construction traffic.