Public Access to Dams and Catchments

To protect drinking water quality there are restrictions in places that limit public access to Hunter Water's dams and drinking water catchments.

Public Access to our Storage Dams

We have closed Finnan Park (at Grahamstown Dam) and our Chichester Dam picnic areas to the public.  These temporary closures are to support social distancing efforts.

Grahamstown Dam and Chichester Dam both have parks with public picnic facilities. For further information on visiting these parks refer to the Grahamstown Dam and Chichester Dam pages.

To protect drinking water quality, public access is not permitted onto either Grahamstown or Chichester dams. There are also restrictions associated with access to the catchments of both dams, including no public access to the water's edge.

Restricted Activities

The following restrictions are in place at both Grahamstown and Chichester dams.

  • No swimming or entering the waters
  • No boating or fishing (with the exception of from the shore within the grounds of the Grahamstown Aquatic Centre or from non-motorised boats within the Grahamstown Aquatic Centre sailing area with approval from Sailability Port Stephens)
  • No dogs, horses or other pets within the picnic areas.

Public Access to our Groundwater Catchments

Tomago Sandbeds

The majority of the Tomago Sandbeds catchment is covered by the Tilligerry State Conservation Area (SCA) and Hunter Water owned land. Public access to these areas is not permitted. View map here.

Tilligerry SCA is covered by the Tomago Sandbeds catchment, which is known as a Special Area under the Hunter Water Act. The reserve is jointly managed by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Hunter Water. It is closed to the public in order to protect groundwater quality and water extraction infrastructure. 

Tomaree Sandbeds

The Tomaree Sandbeds are almost completely covered by Tomaree National Park and managed by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service in consultation with Hunter Water.  Access is permissible in some areas. For details on access, please see the National Parks website. Restrictions include no horse riding, or vehicle access off designated public vehicular trails.

Want to report illegal activity or access to our land?

If you have witnessed illegal activity or access to our land we want to know.  Report via our online form

Penalties for Non-Compliance and Further Information

Fines of up to $11,000 for individuals and $22,000 for corporations can apply for not complying with these restrictions. Regular patrols and surveillance of Special Areas are undertaken by Hunter Water, NSW Police, Dungog Shire Council, Port Stephens Council, and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Further details of these restricted activities are provided in Part 2 of the Hunter Water Regulation 2015.