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Byron Shire
February 24, 2024

Byron Council staff push for Mullum’s water supply to become part of Rous

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Lavertys Gap Weir. Photo NSW Office of Environment & Heritage

A committee that makes recommendations to Council around water and sewage management in the Shire is calling for Mullum’s water supply to remain at Lavertys Gap weir in Wilsons Creek.

All other towns and villages in the Shire are supplied by Rous County Council, who supply water to north coast councils mainly from the Rocky Creek Dam, 20kms north of Lismore.

Yet according to the upcoming March 30 meeting agenda, staff are unsupportive, and instead are pushing for the town’s water supply to become part of Rous.

The infrastructure is in place for the switchover, say staff.

Additionally, they say in the agenda that, ‘Drafting of the Mullumbimby Water Supply Strategy has extended well over three years’, and ‘Any additional tasks, including remodelling the secure yield, will add time to the strategy, which in turn also increases the risk of water supply failure for Mullumbimby’.

A closed door workshop with councillors is proposed by staff, ‘to discuss the Strategy’.

Within the motion put forward by the committee, it recognises that, ‘Mullumbimby’s current water source at Lavertys Gap may not supply adequate volumes of water during drought for the supply area (Mullumbimby), but that an emergency supply is secured in the medium term via an option to draw on Rous Water’.

Strategy options include investigating potential dam sites locally, and the ‘impact of climate change on supply and on demand’.

The other issue that will impact is the push to continue increasing the population of the town.

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  1. Rocky Creek Dam was in use by 1953 and was filled-up by the 1954 Lismore major flood.
    Its 14kMG water potential then supplied a far smaller district than nowadays with increased population.
    In 2022 it was at only 23% capacity and had to be augmented by other local minor capacity sources, which should now include Mullum’s.
    There is no doubt that water shortage is an existential threat for Rous CC in the very near future.
    So urgent implementation of a new dam in conjunction with current flood-relief planning is needed right now.


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