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Byron Shire
July 13, 2024

Rous… what’s changed?

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Losing town water access

I grew up and live in Mullumbimby, and I know locals have a strong opinion about the Byron Shire...

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A Hart, The Channon

I am perplexed by the present situation of Rous County Council pushing its proposal for a Channon/Dunoon dam even before the public consultation period was finished.

This dam was previously rejected (2014) on the basis of Endangered Ecological Communities and Cultural Heritage preservation considerations after reports that showed serious impacts. Why is it okay now?

Does the Aboriginal cultural heritage no longer matter? Have the rare and endangered species suddenly become common place? Why are these things no longer considered important?

We have a dam: Rocky Creek dam. For new residential development there are new water solutions. A new development in Warrnambool, for instance, was fitted with a roof rainwater collection system that takes all the rain that falls on all the roofs and takes it to the treatment plant and into the reticulation system. It services the complete needs of that development. We could do that in Ballina, and other new housing developments.

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  1. What changed? The only thing that really changed for Rous was the appearance of a ‘bucket of money’ … as State and Federal governments, quite properly, looked to make our water supply more drought resilient. So, even though all around them the water supply industry had moved on [ see WSAA “All options on the table” documents for example ], Rous hadn’t kept up, and dusted off their tired old dam plan to go chasing that money.
    I could be proven wrong, but I suspect they thought dams were in this government’s DNA. I also suspect from the release of the Productivity commission’s Green Paper water recommendations, and the Draft Regional Water Strategy, that the government is far more informed on modern flexible and scalable solutions, and open to more secure and less risky options than a dam.
    What a shame Rous has gone chasing a white elephant.


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