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Lake Kununurra
Kununurra packsadle.jpg
A map of Western Australia with a mark indicating the location of Lake Kununurra
A map of Western Australia with a mark indicating the location of Lake Kununurra
Lake Kununurra
Location in Western Australia
Location Kununurra, Western Australia
Coordinates 15°48′31.8″S 128°44′22.6″E / 15.808833°S 128.739611°E / -15.808833; 128.739611
Type Freshwater reservoir
Primary inflows Lake Argyle
Primary outflows Ord River
Basin countries Australia
Designation Lakes Argyle and Kununurra Ramsar Site;
Ord Irrigation Area Important Bird Area
Built 1959
First flooded 1963
Max. length 55 km (34 mi)
Max. width 0.4 km (0.25 mi)
Water volume 90 GL (3.2×109 cu ft)
Surface elevation 40 m (130 ft)
Official name: Lakes Argyle and Kununurra
Designated: 7 June 1990
Reference #: 478

Lake Kununurra is a freshwater man-made reservoir located in the Ord River valley. The lake was formed in 1963 by the construction of the Ord Diversion Dam in Kununurra, northern Western Australia, which was built to supply water to the Ord River Irrigation Area. Prior to the diversion dam construction a natural permanent waterhole (or lake) held back by the Bandicoot Bar was known as "Carlton Reach", which was reputed to be the largest waterhole in the Kimberley.


The lake stretches for 55 km (34 mi) upstream from the Diversion Dam at 15°47′30″S 128°41′45″E / 15.79167°S 128.69583°E / -15.79167; 128.69583 towards the larger Lake Argyle dam at 16°07′15″S 128°44′17″E / 16.12083°S 128.73806°E / -16.12083; 128.73806. At the town of Kununurra the lake is connected to Lily Creek Lagoon. It contains Freshwater Crocodiles and 21 fish species, and is widely used for recreational fishing and boating by the residents of Kununurra and tourists. Because of the stable water levels in Lake Kununurra and its associated wetlands, it has well-developed fringing vegetation of grassland, rushes and woodland. The wetland system of the two lakes and the lagoon forms the Lakes Argyle and Kununurra Ramsar Site. In 2014 a saltwater crocodile estimated to be 3 metres (10 ft) long was spotted in the lake after bypassing dam walls. Local rangers lay baits in hopes of catching the creature.


The lake forms part of the Ord Irrigation Area Important Bird Area (IBA), so identified by BirdLife International because of its importance for wild birds, especially estrildid finches.

Engineering heritage award

The diversion dam was declared a Historic Landmark of Agricultural Engineering and awarded an Engineering Heritage Marker by Engineers Australia as part of its Engineering Heritage Recognition Program.

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