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Pykes Creek Reservoir

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The reservoir was constructed between 1908 and 1911. It now has a capacity of 22,119 megalitres (ML).

After its initial construction, the reservoir operated for several years but as demand increased, it was decided to increase the capacity. To achieve this, the dam was raised by 3.35m in 1930.

In 1945, the inlet to the outlet tower was raised by 4.7 metres to overcome a siltation problem that was inundating the original inlet.

In 1967, the Western Freeway was constructed to improve travel between Ballarat and Melbourne. These works resulted in part of the dam being buried underneath the Western Freeway embankment. As part of these works, the outlet conduit of the dam was extended by about 73 metres to allow it to clear the toe of the highway embankment.

In 1968 the clay core of the embankment was raised by about 1.5 metres up to crest level.

Following a risk assessment study, the left side spillway training wall was raised in 1998 to prevent flows in the spillway chute from overtopping and causing damage to the embankment.

In 2003, major alterations were made to the outlet tower. The old low level inlet was found to be collapsing. This led to the construction of new low level inlet and the old inlet being plugged with concrete. Two new inlet valves were also installed.

The new arrangement allows the tower to be dewatered for inspection and maintenance. In addition, it allows water to be drawn from closer to the surface, reducing the effects of cold water pollution.

In mid 2005, a dam safety upgrade project started, with works being carried out at the embankment / spillway junction to reduce the probability of failure due to piping.

In 2009, $5 million remedial works were completed to improve the reservoir’s flood capacity and its defences against erosion through the embankment.

The works included a filter buttress against the downstream face of the embankment, allowing any seepage to be intercepted and safely drained away. The embankment was raised by 0.8 metres and the spillway widened by 30 metres to improve flood capacity.


The reservoir provides water for use within the Bacchus Marsh and Werribee Irrigation Districts.
It also supplies a small amount of drinking water to Myrniong.



Capacity 22,119 ML
Dead storage 1,923 ML
Surface area 203 ha
Full supply level 396.57 AHD
Catchment area 129 km2
Maximum height 339.8 m
Length 351 m
Crest length 91.7 m
Discharge capacity 100,000 ML per day
Crest length 29.8 m
Discharge capacity 65,000 ML per day

Pykes Creek Reservoir is located on a tributary of the Werribee River, 72 km west of Melbourne on the Western Highway. VicRoads Reference – Map 611 E1

Please check the water levels before planning a day out at the reservoir!

Bulk entitlements

A Bulk Entitlement Order is a set of operating rules for a reservoir.

At Southern Rural Water (SRW) we deal with the following Bulk Entitlement Orders:

  • Latrobe
  • Maribyrnong
  • Yallourn Energy
  • Werribee
  • Thomson/Macalister

Because more than one organisation or group can have shares (or entitlement) in the water being held in a reservoir, each shareholder must follow rules about:

  • the volumes that can be taken from the reservoir, system or waterway
  • costs of managing the system, and how they are shared

At a number of reservoirs, SRW acts as the storage manager on behalf of all shareholders.
As a storage manager, we: 

  • allocate water (both increases and decreases) according to the inflow and capacity shares held by shareholders
  • ensure that we meet the rules for passing flows downstream for environmental purposes
  • release water to meet a shareholder’s request

Passing flows are a vital part of our Bulk Entitlement Orders and are met before allocation requests are supplied.

Environmental entitlements

Environmental Entitlement Orders spell out a whole pattern of environmental flows that are required downstream of a reservoir – from how long they last, to how frequently they flow and how large they are.

Environmental flows are designed to mimic the natural conditions of rivers. It is not just about the amount of water but also the timing and quality. In each order, environmental flow requirements are low during the summer and autumn, and are much higher during winter and spring.

Environmental flows are vital to supporting the river’s ecological processes. High flows provide triggers for fish breeding and supply water for fish passage, so that they are able to move up and down rivers to appropriate habitat. They also keep estuaries open and provide recreational opportunities. Low flows in summer maintain fish refuges and connect habitats. Spring floods regenerate wetlands and floodplains and replenish the river channel.


To make sure that we comply with the rules about passing environmental flows, we:

  • perform random checks at points along rivers, to ensure that customers are taking only the amount of waterthey have ordered
  • maintain a number of gauging stations with alarms that alert us of unusual changes in water levels.

More information
For more information contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit

Download Factsheet

Pykes Creek Reservoir boating brochure

Recreational facilities

There is no entry fee into Pykes Creek Reservoir. Picnic areas cannot be reserved.

All of our recreational facilities including Pykes Creek Reservoir have a carry-in carry-out policy, meaning any litter you bring with you must be taken home with you.

Certain activities are prohibited at our reservoirs and recreational areas to protect water quality and the environment. These include stalls and markets, horse riding, abseiling, shooting, archery, paraflying, construction of jetties / pontoons and aircraft landing on the water without written permission.

All native animals and plants are protected by law.

Visitor conduct

For the safety and comfort of all visitors, please:

  • Consider your fellow guestsand keep noise to a minimum
  • obey all signs and notices
  • comply with directions of SRW officers and security personnel
  • keep picnic areas and BBQ’s clean
  • keep within the speed limits
  • use toilet facilities provided.

Fires prohibited

As part of its commitment to adopting the best environmental practices, SRW prohibits fires at all of its recreational areas AT ALL TIMES.

More information
For more information, contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit www.srw,

Download PDF

Pykes Creek Reservoir visitors guide

Southern Rural Water (SRW) needs to manage our dams and catchments carefully to maintain a high quality supply of water. We encourage all visitors to work with us to minimise any impact to Pykes Creek Reservoir and its surrounds, and to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time here.

In the park and picnic areas:

consider others and keep noise to a minimum
keep the picnic areas and BBQs clean
take your rubbish home
use the toilet facilities provided
keep within the speed limits
obey all signs and notices, including Blue Green Algae bloom notifications
keep dogs on leads
protect all native animals and plants
comply with the directions of SRW officers and security personnel

drive or ride motorbikes along the shoreline or in fenced areas
enter prohibited areas
vandalise the facilities
ride or walk horses anywhere, including in the water
camp overnight
undertake any dangerous activities including
abseiling, paraflying, shooting and archery

On the water:

supervise your children at all times
have a Victorian boat operating licence , when operating vessels
comply with the Victorian Marine Safety legislation and SRW by-laws (the rules on this flyer)
ensure all passengers are wearing flotation devices
use the boat ramp provided
adhere to all speed and safety restrictions
move in anticlockwise direction, when operating a vessel

drive vessels into restricted areas where you may harm other people or the environment.
construct any works near or on the water including ramps and pontoons
conduct any dangerous activities include shooting, parasailing or jumping off assets or home-made platforms
land any aircraft on the water without written permission from SRW
engage in duck shooting
leave any litter on the waterway or dispose of any
chemicals into the water

Fires prohibited

As part of its commitment to adopting the best environmental practices, SRW prohibits fires at all of its recreational areas AT ALL TIMES.

More information
For more information contact us on 1300 139 510 or visit

Download Factsheet

Pykes Creek Spillway Video - August 2012

Southern Rural Water acknowledges and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and waters on which we work and live, and we respect their deep and ongoing connection to Country. For more about the First Nations peoples on whose Country we work, click here.