Faulty Software Causes Torrens Lake Drain

Event Year: 2009 Reliability: Confirmed
Country: Australia
Industry Type: Water/Waste Water

Faulty software caused the gates of the Torrens Weir to open without warining.  The gates remained open for about two hours draining millions of liters of water from the lake.  An investigation revealed that alarms that would alert remote operators of a malfunction were muted.  The faulty software was purchased from Ottoway System Integration, an Adelaide-based firm which went out of business only days after the incident.  There was no evidence of foul play.


The Torrens Lake was drained.  The water levels dropped by more than two meters.  The muddy lake bottom contained large amounts of debris.  The incident caused a problem for businesses that relied on the lake.  Since the incident, the weir has been opened and closed manually.  One positive outcome is that the 17 tons of debris was removed from the lake.  A report from GHD Engineering contains 11 recommendations including an overhaul of the software used to regulate the weir.  Lord Mayor Michael Harbison was adamant the system would be upgraded.