Dr Roslyn Irwin, Caniaba
An organisation called ‘Our Future NR’ is distributing and promoting information intended to put the Dunoon Dam, which was excluded from Rous Water’s 2020 Water Strategy, back on the agenda.
Unfortunately, they tell only part of the story. Our region has some of the highest rainfall in New South Wales, and alarmist suggestions that any option other than the dam below Rocky will not secure our water supply into the future is simply untrue. Indeed, it’s fair to say that this region would be the least likely in the State to need another dam.
The closest Rocky Creek Dam came to being unacceptably low was in 2002 when, at the end of the drought, it was at 22.8 per cent.
However, this only happened because the longstanding policy at Rous County Council that restrictions should be implemented when the dam was at 60 per cent full did not occur and, when restrictions were finally implemented, they were far more severe than would have otherwise been necessary.
In contrast, on 13 January 2020, after the far north coast had experienced its longest dry period on record (2018–2020) Rocky Creek Dam was 60.7 per cent full. The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) says that being dependent on surface water increases water insecurity, and that a diverse range of water supply sources including new or alternative sources – such as indirect potable reuse and direct reuse of purified water – increases water security.
Several councils in the region have already introduced the use of recycled water, but have not yet introduced purified recycled water for drinking water. For the whole story, go to www.waternorthernrivers.org/.
The dam would inundate 25 graves of the Widjabul Wai-bal people, for whom this is a sacred site. It would also intersect with an important koala food tree corridor used by koalas in a very healthy state owing to their lack of exposure to intensive urban areas with all their dangers. Removal of this koala habitat would simply push koalas further along the path to extinction.