15.4 C
Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Rous County Cr Darlene Cook on the Dunoon Dam

Latest News

Fresh faces for Council elections

A very distinct, black flat-cap has just been thrown into the ring for the upcoming Byron Council elections, pegged for September 4.

Other News

Death for koalas

Maria Paola Torti, Italy I’m Maria Paola Torti. I live in Italy, and I’m very concerned with the NSW coalition government’s...

Poor Council drains

Kate Anderson, Mullumbimby In response to and support of Kerry Gray’s and Robin Gracie’s letters Echo 31 March). The McGoughans Lane...

SCU named as partner in two national drought hubs

Southern Cross University has been announced as playing a crucial partnership role in two new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.

The Channon resilient after disaster

Northern Rivers communities are nothing if not resilient and The Channon community is preparing to take a proactive stance when it comes to disasters in the area.

Will the Shenhua Watermark coal mine be cancelled?

News is trickling through unofficial channels about the possibility of a Berejiklian government plan to buy out the remaining licence from the Shenhua Watermark coal mine project at Breeze in the state's west.

Follow the buck$

JK Mckenna, Burringbar Give Fast Buck$ his own column in the paper. Let him speak. Let him be heard. Let’s also...

Rous County Councillors
(L-R) Cr Simon Richardson, Cr Vanessa Ekins, Phillip Rudd (General Manager), Cr Sandra Humphrys, Cr Keith Williams (Chair), Michael McKenzie (Future Water Project Manager), Cr Sharon Cadwallader (D/Chair), Cr Darlene Cook, Cr Robert Mustow. Photo supplied.

Echonetdaily has been contacting Rous County councillors for their arguments for and against the proposed Dunoon/Channon Dam project.

While Byron’s Rous Cr Simon Richardson is among those who have not yet revealed a position, Lismore representative Cr Darlene Cook  (second from right in above pic) was happy to share her views this week, as one of eight Rous Country councillors who have had more time to study the detail of the Rous Future Water Project 2060 than most.

Cr Cook said, ‘Dams by themselves are not the solution. I want to see increased funding for water tank rebates, water waste education, demand management programs, and continued partnerships with high water users in our region to find alternate sources of water for manufacturing and cleaning.

‘I also want Rous to increase lobbying of general purpose councils to encourage rollout of purple pipes plumbing in greenfield developments in the region and continued lobbying for the NSW government to permit trials of potable reuse in this state.’

More assessments needed?

Cr Cook noted that Rous County Council has so far only done initial geological, cultural and environmental assessments on the feasibility of the second recommendation, the Dunoon Dam, which Rous has suggested could supply the region with general use water through to 2115.

Rous County Council (RCC), in collaboration with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have developed a flyover virtual 3D landscape model of our catchment to assist the community to visually understand our current and proposed water supply assets in relation to the Future Water Project 2060 proposal.

‘It is acknowledged that there are some problems identified in those assessments but nothing that indicates that the project absolutely cannot go ahead,’ she said.

‘At this stage I am leaning towards supporting Rous undertaking the full environmental and cultural assessments that will be required prior to any approvals being sought from the government.

‘This involves Rous spending millions of dollars in the next 5-10 years with the knowledge that any one of those assessments could raise an issue that is a complete project stopper.

‘Importantly we need to remember that approval for these assessments to be undertaken is not approval for the dam to be built,’ she emphasised.

‘The solution to future water security cannot just be the dam,’ said Cr Cook. ‘We must have a multi-pronged approach to water supply and use and a complete change of culture and attitudes towards water.’

New photos of threatened upper section of valley

With many people in the wider community still unaware of what the environmental areas to be inundated actually look like, Echonetdaily went downstream from the popular tourist spot of Whian Whian Falls on Rocky Creek this week (photo gallery below).

The area includes threatened species and pools said to have been used in pre-colonial times for birthing and ceremonies.

The Rous Future Water Project 2060 is currently on public display.

Public comments are welcome, and can be made until 9 September 2020 here.

Echonetdaily is seeking comment from the other Rous County Councillors who have not yet made their position clear.

You can see more of the country that would go underwater if the dam is built here and here.

Photos David Lowe

More stories about the Dunoon Dam

Call for deeper look at underground water

Ballina's Cr Eoin Johnston is calling for council to invite senior technical representatives of Rous County Council to provide a briefing to Ballina's councillors on the ramifications of using the Alstonville Aquifer as a major source of water supply to the region for the next forty years.


Rous moves ahead without Dunoon Dam

Yesterday's extraordinary meeting of Rous County Council included two more attempts to get the Dunoon Dam back on the table, both of which were defeated, 5 votes to 3.


Rescission motion fails, but Dunoon Dam not dead

Yesterday's meeting of the Rous County Council saw the rescission motion go down 5:3 after another passionate debate, but Cr Sharon Cadwallader said she remained determined to keep the Dunoon Dam as an option for the future water supply of the Northern Rivers.


WATER Northern Rivers and the BES oppose dam rescission motion

Both WATER Northern Rivers and the Ballina Environment Society have expressed their opposition to the rescission motion proposed for Rous County Council in regards to the Dunoon Dam.


Could new dam become another Rio Tinto disaster?

Widjabul Wia-bal traditional custodians are deeply concerned about a motion proposed for Rous County Council’s next meeting, which would overturn their decision to cease all work on the Dunoon Dam, rezone the land and begin the disposal of Rocky Creek properties.





Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Due to previous financial mismanagement Rous clients have endured a minimum of five years of 15% annual water charge increases. So now millions more to be spent out of the pockets of current clients to meet the demands of future residents? That sure is fair and just and user pay.

    Out to 2120 without considering MINIMUM one meter sea level rise…. coastal development? salt intrusion negating Wilson river supply?

    Reverse osmosis membrane filtration: small scale plants at new developments paid for by developer or Ballina sewerage water alone is almost the volume required up to 2060. “LET THEM DRINK P!$$ & S4!T!” Reverse osmosis filters everything (e.g. bacteria, viruses, arsenic). The water is ‘cleaner’ than the potable supply currently provided by NTP


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Follow the buck$

JK Mckenna, Burringbar Give Fast Buck$ his own column in the paper. Let him speak. Let him be heard. Let’s also see some accountability from councils...

A bouquet for Lilac House

L Jenkins, Byron Bay Nicole Habrecht should receive free paint and brushes and a pat on the back from Council for maintaining her house in a...

Bruns boarding house showdown Thursday

The stage is set for a crucial debate over the Brunswick Heads ‘Corso’ development in Byron Council this week, with staff recommending that the developer’s revised plans be approved.

You Donne good

Liz Levy, Suffolk Park I’d like to thank whoever decided to reprint John Donne’s beautiful poem ‘No Man is an Island’ on the Backlash page. I...