Hugh Nicholson, The Channon
A spokesperson for Our Future Northern Rivers (OFNR), explains clearly why the OFNR position on water supply for this region is dismally lacking in foresight.
She states that no water sources other than a new dam at Dunoon will be acceptable – no desalination; no aquifers; no potable recycled water; no efficiency; no fixing the leaks. Talk about all your ‘eggs in one basket’!
As Sharon Cadwallader from Ballina Council and Rous County Council (RCC) reiterates, the Dunoon Dam has been investigated for the past 25 years at a cost of millions of dollars. Studies have shown it is not a viable solution to water supply in the region. Why is OFNR insisting on spending more millions? Are they hoping for a different result? That the threatened rainforest community will have vanished? That the Widjabul Wia-bal heritage sites will no longer exist? Or perhaps that, magically, the catchment area will have increased?
What RCC is now proposing is that many smaller water sources will be used. These are scalable so that each can be made larger as demand increases. This way the costs will be spread out over generations rather than paid for upfront by current residents.
Such multiple projects will also employ many people in the region for years rather than forking out squillions for a large contractor to move in, build a dam and clear out with bulging pockets.
To insist no other options are acceptable, when we face an uncertain future in climate change and unknown population growth, is staggeringly rigid thinking, allowing no space for adaptability.
RCC, through the Integrated Water Cycle Management 2060, is planning to provide sustainable, innovative water sources, which will provide clean drinking water for the region for the future.
Let them get on with it!