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Melbourne Water is upgrading the Upper Yarra Reservoir Dam, located about 5 km east of Reefton. This is an important initiative for residents of Warburton, Reefton, McMahons Creek and metropolitan Melbourne: it will ensure the continued integrity and stability of the dam wall, so the reservoir can continue to supply world class drinking water to Melburnians.

Please note: Upper Yarra Reservoir Park (campground, day use area and walking tracks) was closed Tuesday 11 June and is expected to re-open upon completion of works from mid-2021.

Why are we doing this work

Upper Yarra Dam was constructed in 1957 to the best standards of the day. The upgrade will make it compatible with the latest industry standards that have improved over time.

These are maintenance works to make an already safe dam even safer. There is no risk to public safety from these works, or the dam. Melbourne Water has an excellent safety record and operates under some of the strictest and most conservative dam safety rules in the world.

We apply the best Australian and international engineering practices in the design, management and operation of dams.

Timing of works

From September 2019 Melbourne Water have undertaken works to upgrade Upper Yarra Dam. 

Minor works began in March 2019, Reservoir Park was closed to the public from Tuesday 11 June 2019. Construction commenced September 2019. Works are anticipated to be completed over two summer phases by mid-2021. 

What is happening

The project will install a sand filter on the full length of the downstream side of the embankment crest. This protects the clay core of the embankment from erosion, and allows monitoring of any seepage through the embankment.

The upgrade will involve:

  • Excavation of a trench along the crest of the wall 
  • Backfilling the trench with a new sand filter 
  • Fencing off and closure of the works area. 

What to expect

While the Upper Yarra Reservoir Dam upgrade works are underway, you can expect:

  • Upper Yarra Reservoir Park closure from Tuesday 11 June 2019 to mid-2021
  • Heavy vehicle truck movements along Warburton Highway
  • Vegetation removal and trimming within the works area
  • Amenities improvements within the campground
  • Site reinstatement.

Upper Yarra Reservoir Park closures

The Upper Reservoir Park was closed to the public on 11 June 2019 to ensure the safety of the public while works occur. The park will remain closed to the public until mid-2021.

Upon completion public access to the park will be reinstated. Some improvements will be made to facilities during the closure to enhance the park amenity.

For an alternative campground during closure please contact Parks Victoria on 13 19 63.

Upper Yarra Dam project location and road closure area

Tree removal

Every effort to minimise the impact we have on surrounding vegetation is being made; however, some vegetation removal will be required. In accordance with statutory requirements, vegetation removal will be undertaken with qualified arborist and wildlife handler supervision.


Upper Yarra Reservoir is located east of Melbourne and is approximately 23 km from Warburton, located in the Reefton township. Upper Yarra Reservoir stores water from the catchment, so it can provide to the drinking water supply network. It is also an important link between our water supply network and largest dam, Thomson Reservoir.

Constructed in 1957, Upper Yarra Reservoir is a rolled earthfill and rockfill embankment with a clay core.

More information

Contact us 

 1800 560 622

 [email protected] 

Last updated:
14 October 2019