Water Minister Dave Kelly today announced the official opening of a new public viewing area at the popular Ord River Diversion Dam, as part of the McGowan Government’s $17 million upgrade of the vital irrigation infrastructure.
Located around six kilometres west of Kununurra, the Water Corporation-owned dam diverts and regulates the gravity-fed flow of water into the Ord Irrigation Scheme. It includes 20 steel radial gates mounted within concrete piers and spillway, and also forms part of the Victoria Highway.
Since opening in 1963, it has been a popular draw for tourists and the local community. The new viewing area provides a safe place for the public to enjoy the stunning view of the Ord River area, while learning about the important connection to country shared by the Miriuwung people.
The Water Corporation partnered with local Kununurra organisations – MG Corporation, Kununurra Historical Society, Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre, and Waringarri Arts Centre – to produce a suite of interpretive signage for the viewing area.
The major upgrade works project also included further strengthening of the dam embankments, helping extend its lifespan, as well as renewing other infrastructure to ensure public safety at the site. Around 100 contractors worked on the project, which directly employed seven full-time staff, with $3.3 million spent with local firms in Kununurra.
As stated by Water Minister Dave Kelly:
“Since 1963, the spectacular Ord River Diversion Dam has been one of the most iconic and popular landmarks in the Kimberley.
“The new public viewing area and interpretive signage significantly enhances the visitor experience, showcasing the natural beauty of the Ord River and the impressive engineering of the dam itself.
“Learning about local history and the proud life and enduring culture of the Miriuwung people is incredibly important, so it’s fantastic to see the Water Corporation and the Miriuwung people partnering on this.
“As a vital part of the Ord Irrigation Scheme, the Water Corporation has invested tens of millions of dollars in the dam over the years, and these important upgrades will help keep it operational for many more decades to come.”