Hon David Templeman Dip Tchg BEd MLA

Hon David Templeman Dip Tchg BEd MLA

Minister for Culture and the Arts; Sport and Recreation; International Education; Heritage

Hon Dave Kelly BA MLA

Hon Dave Kelly BA MLA

Minister for Water; Forestry; Youth

    Lake Grace dam recognised for its historical and scientific values

    5/11/2021 9:00 AM
    • First experimental roaded catchment dam in WA listed on Register of Heritage Places
    • Lake Grace dam was the prototype for layout of "roaded catchments" in the Wheatbelt region
    • James Dam helped develop new technologies for more efficient methods of water collection

    A square dam with a concrete inlet chute and a "wave-like" roaded catchment based in Lake Grace in the eastern Wheatbelt has been added to the Register of Heritage Places.


    AA Dam No190 James, Lake Grace was originally constructed in 1914 and, following improvements in 1949, became the first experimental roaded catchment dam in the State.


    This dam was originally part of a State Government program to provide an adequate water supply to regions of the Wheatbelt during the early twentieth-century that were not part of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme.


    In 1949 the dam was expanded and improved using new technologies and materials to develop a more efficient method of water collection and storage for agricultural areas.


    One of the innovations was a "roaded catchment" which is a sloped area with a corrugated surface that collects rainwater and channels water into a dam.


    This technology was considered one of the greatest single advances in water conservation for the State.


    Other works on the dam in 1949 increased its capacity from 1.4 million litres to 9.1 million litres.


    As the population in the Lake Grace district continued to grow over the years, so did the need for more water and by 1975 the town became connected to the Comprehensive Water Supply Scheme providing a more reliable water supply for all residents.


    Comments attributed to Heritage Minister David Templeman:


    "James Dam was an incredible achievement in establishing a new and effective way of collecting rain water in an area that had very poor rainfall and assisted farmers in the Wheatbelt greatly.


    "The design also proved that roaded catchments were considerably efficient in capturing and directing rainwater.


    "This simple design was very cost effective at the time and allowed farmers in the area to design smaller scale versions for their own farm dams.


    "The surrounding area at James Dam was also used for the community to gather socially and play cricket or tennis. While the cricket pitch still remains, the tennis courts no longer exist."


    Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:


    "With the corrugated ridges and furrows on its roaded catchment, James Dam was the first of its type in Western Australia, particularly suited to the arid conditions.


    "The compacted soil produced a surface that was more impervious to water absorption, thereby reducing the time that the rainwater would be exposed for evaporation or could be absorbed into the soil.


    "While not currently operational, inclusion in the State Register will ensure the protection of James Dam's heritage values for future generations and recognises the technological innovations of Water Corporation and its predecessors in helping facilitate the development of the eastern Wheatbelt."


    Comments attributed to Agricultural Region MLC Shelley Payne:


    "Protecting our heritage is so important; James Dam is significant not only historically and scientifically but also socially.


    "The dam is representative of the grit and determination of our rural farming communities like Lake Grace and became a place to gather and recreate.


    "I am grateful to be a part of a Government that values and protects our history."


    Heritage Minister's office - 6552 5400

    Water Minister's office - 6552 6100