NO DAM: The newly formed alliance, WATER Northern Rivers held a protest before they present hundreds of submissions objecting to the Dunoon dam to Rous County Council on September 8, 2020. Photo: Alison Paterson
NO DAM: The newly formed alliance, WATER Northern Rivers held a protest before they present hundreds of submissions objecting to the Dunoon dam to Rous County Council on September 8, 2020. Photo: Alison Paterson

‘WHITE ELEPHANT’: Call to scrap plans for destructive dam

A NEWLY-formed environmental group has demanded Rous County Council drop plans for a second dam at Dunoon, citing water-saving alternatives would create jobs and save an endangered ecosystem – and $240 million.

WATER Northern Rivers spokeswoman Annie Kia and her fellow supporters held a peaceful protest outside the water council’s office this morning before they presented the organisation with hundreds of submissions objecting to the proposal.

Ms Kia said water security into the 21st century is about a suite of options comprising water efficiency – water harvesting using rain tanks, urban run-off and water re-use.

“We are really concerned about the proposal for the huge destructive dam they proposing between The Channon and Dunoon,” she said.

“We only have one per cent of the Big Scrub rainforest left in our region, the dam will destroy a significant part of that and rare flora and fauna will be at risk.

“People can find more at our No Dam info page on social media.” ”

Ms Kia, said a report titled Rous Water Augmentation by Professor Stuart White from Sydney’s University of Technology, states: “The costly dam is unnecessary, it would increase the cost of water significantly, and run the risk of creating a very expensive ‘white elephant’”.

In his report Prof White said the council’s planning documents were wrong in that no alternatives were offered and that the project “would represent a significant financial risk”.

But Rous County Council chair Keith Williams said any decision to proceed with a dam still required substantial investigations that would take some years.

“Rous supplies water to more than 100,000 people in urban areas and this demand will keep growing,” he said.

“I thank Professor White for his proposal and I am happy to commit to an independent, peer review of all the measures he has proposed as part of our consideration of public submissions.”

Mr Williams said he would dispute the report’s findings that a dam was unnecessary.

“A very sobering part of the summary is that in looking at the paleo-climate record of drought, a 50GL dam may not be enough.,” he said.

“Pretending that the region will cope with both a more hostile climate and substantial population growth simply with water efficiency measures, in my view, does this community a gross disservice.”



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