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Byron Shire
June 14, 2021

Dun the dam

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Kathryn McConnochie, Byron Bay

There is an unfortunate campaign of misinformation circulating about the alternatives to the Dunoon Dam. Beth Trevan’s sudden concern for Tyagarah Nature Reserve is curious (Echo May 19), considering the Our Future NR stance that there are no environmental issues with building a dam at The Channon Gorge. Studies by Rous County Council (RCC) state that 34ha of Big Scrub Rainforest will be destroyed by the dam and 62ha in the total area will be affected, not to mention the destruction of Aboriginal burial sites.

I discussed the Tyagarah aquifer with RCC Chair Keith Williams. The Rous 2060 Future Water Plan on exhibition now, recommends four bores in the Tyagarah aquifer, not the 12 that Ms Trevan stated. Williams said, ‘the bores will be located well away from the Tyagarah Nature Reserve on Crown and Council land near the Tyagarah Airfield’. He noted that before the bores go ahead in the 2030s, ‘Detailed studies will be carried out to be sure there are no impacts on groundwater dependent ecosystems’.

Rous County Council has existing licences for aquifers at Alstonville that farmers also use. Despite the rumours RCC proposes relocating its bores to a deeper aquifer unused by farmers.

The bores at Alstonville and Tyagarah will provide enough additional water until 2040 according to Williams. This will provide 20 years to establish water recycling plants, such as the pioneer scheme by Rous at Perradenya Estate. As Mr Williams has said before, the recycling of wastewater is not illegal, it just needs to be carried out under licence.

Recycled water is used globally and is a viable solution to our water supply.

Submissions close this Friday. Provide a quick online submissions are at waternorthernrivers.org. The Indigenous people and the rainforest need your support for alternatives to the dam.

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