Water Northern Rivers has responded to business papers on the Rous website in which a Notice of Motion to put the Dunoon Dam back on the table has been put on the agenda for the Rous County Council meeting on Wednesday.
Water Northern Rivers is asking, can Rous govern itself?
Spokesperson Nan Nicholson says with the new Rous County council being made up of likely 6:2 pro-dam councillors – assuming Byron goes against the trend – there will be a demand for Rous to shelve the current Integrated Water Cycle Management Strategy (IWCM) and put the Dunoon Dam (DD) back on the table.
‘Much has been made of the 10,000 signatures on a petition which insisted that the dam be reinstated. Some pro-dam councillors have said that they can’t ignore these people.’
Mrs Nicholson says that apparently, they believe that the 10,000 people (6.6 per cent of the population) should determine water policy for Rous County Council. ‘But, these same people emphatically ruled out groundwater, recycled water and desal plants, as permanent water sources. Some of these are already being used by Rous and have been for many years.
‘Does “rule by the 10,000” mean that Rous should never again use groundwater bores and it should immediately pull out the new deep bore that has recently been drilled into the Clarence-Moreton Basin?
‘Should Rous immediately stop pumping water from the Wilson River (into which Bangalow releases its treated sewage) up to the Nightcap Treatment Plant?’
Should Rous be ruled by populist demand?
‘If Rous councillors dictate that Rous County Council should bow to the 10,000 and go with the only option the 10,000 accept (the new dam), then Rous will have to abandon all the other water management options that it has spent the last year developing and implementing.
‘Rous would become unworkable,’ says Mrs Nicholson. ‘How embarrassing for all of us. Our Northern Rivers community will look like a bunch of backwoods hicks who are stuck in the past and can’t read a scientific report or a cultural heritage impact assessment.’
The first Rous County Council meeting is due to be held on Wednesday, February 16. The meeting will be streamed on Zoom. Visit the Rous website for more details.