Public access to dams and catchments

We aim to keep our region’s water as fresh as possible, but to ensure that we are producing the best quality for the Lower Hunter, we’re going to need the community’s help.

Here you can learn about our public access restrictions before visiting our dams and drinking water catchments.

Public access to our storage dams

To protect drinking water quality, public access is not permitted onto either Grahamstown or Chichester Dams.

Picnic facilities at Finnan Park (at Grahamstown Dam) are pen to the public.


Public access to Chichester Dam is temporarily closed while construction work is underway to improve the performance and reliability of our water facilities. We expect to reopen the carpark next to the dam wall (middle section) and upper picnic area after 22 December 2023. The lower car park and picnic area will remain closed. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Chichester Dam

To protect drinking water quality, public access is not permitted onto Chichester Dam or its catchment, but there are three picnic areas within the site that are open to the community.

Public access to our groundwater catchments

Tomago Sandbeds

The Tomago Sandbeds fall under Hunter Water owned land and the Tilligerry State Conservation Area (SCA), which is known as a ‘Special Area’ in the Hunter Water Act - view our access restrictions map. The reserve is jointly managed by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Hunter Water, and 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 us. Access is permissible in some areas (See the National Parks website for more details). Restrictions include no horse riding, or vehicle access off designated public vehicular trails.

Report illegal activity or access

Illegal Activity

If you have witnessed illegal activity, for example dumping of rubbish, burnt out vehicles, or unauthorised access to our land we want to know.

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.