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July 16, 2024

Editorial – Should Mullum’s water remain locally sourced?

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The push by members of Council’s Water and Sewer Advisory Committee (WSAC) to retain Mullum’s local water supply is heating up – see here

Greens Council candidate and water engineer, Elia Hauge, shares the same views with fellow WSAC members, Ben Fawcett and Greens Cr Duncan Dey, all of whom have expertise in the field.

Their view is to retain Mullum’s water supply, which is at odds with the views of Council staff and consultants. They suggest disconnecting Mullum’s local supply and rely solely upon Rous (and Rocky Creek Dam).

Rous also supply the shires of Ballina (excluding Wardell), Byron (excluding Mullumbimby, for now), Lismore (excluding Nimbin), Richmond Valley (excluding land west of Coraki).

Should all efforts be made to retain Mullum’s local water supply for the future?

Works are now underway to connect water mains to Rous, which is ideal as a backup in droughts. 

As Mr Fawcett pointed out last week on page 1, Lavertys Gap Weir in Wilsons Creek was built in 1939 to provide an independent, reliable source of both electricity and water for the town.      

As many know, Rous have not given up on building the Dunoon Dam, which proposes to destroy remnant Big Scrub rainforest and Aboriginal cultural heritage sites.

Presumably hitching Mullum to Rous’s water supply provides additional reasons for a large new dam to be built?

On a related note, a film on localisation will be screened on June 29 from 3pm, upstairs at the Byron Community Centre – see here.

Local Futures’ newest film, Closer to Home, raises awareness of how the global system impacts our individual lives. 

It’s a very similar theme – relying on local infrastructure provides resilience. Top-down models are outdated. And they lead to less self-reliance and security.  

The councillor vote on August 15 to decide the fate of Mullum’s future water supply will no doubt be a significant turning point for the town.

Given the gravity of the issue, it seems more appropriate to delay such an important vote until after the September 15 elections.

Yet as we have seen over the last years, this is not how this Council majority rolls. There are already many councillors wanting to be reelected – who will they support?

Yes, there are costs in refurbishing and maintaining a local water treatment supply network. Understandably, a cash-strapped Council would prefer to outsource water.

Yet as pointed out by Mr Fawcett, there are other councils undertaking similar infrastructure builds. Government grants are available.

The question is what is the best outcome for residents faced with increased population projections and future droughts?   

A community meeting on Mullum’s water supply will be held on Monday, June 17 from 7pm at the Mullum RSL. For more info visit waternorthernrivers.org.

Councillors recently abandoned staff plans for a new Burringbar Street design after more than 500 residents voiced their concerns over the palm and parking removal.

Now’s the time to have your say on this important matter via Council’s ‘Your Say’ website page.

Hans Lovejoy, editor

News tips are welcome: [email protected]


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1 COMMENT

  1. A Greens Council candidate and the unsuccessful Greens Mayoral candidate in the last Council election, Cr Duncan Dey, disagree with with the views of Council staff and consultants.

    Who needs staff and consultants , then?

    Has the Editor let the cat out of the bag with his comments

    “As many know, Rous have not given up on building the Dunoon Dam, which proposes to destroy remnant Big Scrub rainforest and Aboriginal cultural heritage sites.
    Presumably hitching Mullum to Rous’s water supply provides additional reasons for a large new dam to be built?”

    Thank You , Editor!

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