WhatsNew2Day
Latest News And Breaking Headlines

Scientists demand for new dam projects to be STOPPED in Australia

Scientists are calling for major dam projects in NSW and Queensland to be halted, warning of significant environmental and agricultural impacts.

ANU professor Jamie Pittock, a member of the Wentworth group of concerned scientists, will tell a conference on Wednesday that the dam proposals are a waste of taxpayers’ money.

They include plans by the NSW government to extend Wyangala at Cowra and build the Dungowan Dam at Tamworth. While a plan for a dam at Hells Gates in North Queensland is still under consideration.

“The proposal to raise the Wyangala Dam is an example of why these dam construction projects are insane, it was proposed without a business case,” Professor Pittock told AAP.

Scientists urge major dam projects in NSW and Queensland to be halted, warning of significant environmental and agricultural impacts

Scientists urge major dam projects in NSW and Queensland to be halted, warning of significant environmental and agricultural impacts

Professor Pittock, who has studied water policy for two decades, says the proposals are “unwarranted and ill-conceived water management interventions,” and has called on the federal government to drop them.

“There are better ways to reduce flood risks and better ways to secure water for agriculture.”

Farmers, traditional owners, scientists and politicians told a two-day Listening To The Lachlan conference about the impact the expansion of the dam will have on the river.

Internationally renowned expert on Australian water resources Richard Kingsford also wants the projects to be halted.

The UNSW professor will tell the conference that the NSW dam proposals will devastate wetlands downstream on the Lachlan River.

“People don’t know how beautiful places like Lake Cowal, the Great Cumbung Swamp and the Booligal wetlands are, but I’ve been mapping them for over a decade,” he told AAP.

“Native fish, waterfowl, frogs and red gum species will decline in numbers across the river’s catchment area, with flow impacting across the Murray-Darling Basin.”

The professor also warns that there will be major consequences for birds, such as the straw-necked ibis that eats grasshoppers.

Mal Carnegie of the Lachlan Environmental Water Advisory Group said the Wyangala proposal does not sufficiently consider downstream water users or the environment

Mal Carnegie of the Lachlan Environmental Water Advisory Group said the Wyangala proposal does not sufficiently consider downstream water users or the environment

Mal Carnegie of the Lachlan Environmental Water Advisory Group told AAP that the Wyangala proposal does not sufficiently consider downstream water users or the environment.

“You have to look at the bigger picture because it has such a big impact on the whole system… It’s potentially disastrous.”

On Tuesday, the head of the Lachlan Valley water group – which has advocated raising the sheet pile to limit flooding and water storage – also spoke at the conference.

Mary Ewing told the meeting that crop losses from the 2016 floods were estimated at $500 million and every business case must be thorough.

‘We know that the business case has to be done, the environmental impact assessment has to be done’; she said Tuesday.

The chairman of the Lachlan Valley water group, Forbes farmer Tom Green, told AAP that early studies show raising the wall is beneficial.

The Wyangala Dam is leaking spill after reaching overcapacity last November

The Wyangala Dam is leaking spill after reaching overcapacity last November

“We believe the project has shown that it will be very effective for both flood management and water safety,” he said.

Mayors along the river, from counties Forbes, Cowra and Lachlan, remain committed to building the wall.

Forbes Mayor Phyllis Miller told AAP the dam must go through.

“For those people who think putting up the wall and flooding some of the land in the dam’s catchment area is an environmental problem, let them come and see what a flood does,” she said.

The NSW government said money for dams is dependent on a co-financing agreement with the federal government.

“I look forward to continuing discussions with the new federal government and receiving a commitment to fund these critical water infrastructure projects,” NSW Secretary of State for Water Kevin Anderson told AAP.

“Water safety is critical to the survival and future of regional communities.”

An environmental impact statement is expected for the Wyangala project after August, while work on the first phase of the new Dungowan Dam pipeline has commenced.

A Queensland government spokesman said a detailed business case for the Hells Gates dam will be sent to the federal government in June.

Federal Water Minister Tanya Plibersek could not be reached for comment.

Scientists have expressed concern about the impact of dam construction on native fish and animals

Scientists have expressed concern about the impact of dam construction on native fish and animals

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More