As the deadline for the community to have their say regarding The Channon/Dunoon dam reaches the eleventh hour, a newly-formed alliance, WATER Northern Rivers presented hundreds of submissions of objection today.
The group delivered the submissions to Rous County Council – the hard-copy objections are in addition to those presented to Rous online.
The group say a new report from Professor Stuart White (UTS, Sydney) says that the costly dam is unnecessary and that it would increase the cost of water significantly, and run the risk of creating a very expensive ‘white elephant’.
They say it would also waste an opportunity to support employment in the region.
Further, they say that Professor White’s report argues that the Rous assessment process failed to adequately analyse and cost investment in water efficiency, and that it incorrectly applied the concept of marginal cost in comparing options.
Spokesperson for WATER Northern Rivers, Annie Kia, said in view of this report, they are calling on Rous County Council to stop promoting the dam. ‘We want then to adopt a management approach that values water at every part of its journey.
‘This dam is destructive all round. It would obliterate Aboriginal Heritage. It would drown exceptionally rare rainforests. And with its eye-watering price-tag of $240 million dollars, it would increase the cost of water to consumers and industry.
’21st century water is about a suite of options: water efficiency; water harvesting (rain tanks, urban run-off); and water re-use. We need local councils to adopt policies that optimise water, instead of wasting it.
Ms Kia says by sinking all our resources into a costly dam, we can kiss goodbye to the smart water options that would make our system fit for the 21st century. ‘This would be a huge price to pay for reaching back to last-century thinking.’
Professor White’s report is online as a brief summary.
The Rous Future Water Project 2060 is currently on public display, with a decision due before the end of 2020.
Public comments are welcome, and can be made until the evening of Wednesday 9 September here.
Below is a new short film from Aerial Punkin showing the area to be inundated if the dam proceeds:
More stories about the Dunoon Dam
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.