Opinion: Wyangala Dam proposal is only a proposal

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Water, Deputy NSW Nationals Leader Niall Blair visited Wyangala Dam last week where he announced that the NSW Coalition is proposing to increase the level of the dam wall by 10 metres.

Lifting the wall is the preferred option to increase water security in the Lachlan Valley.

Mr Blair told those present that the state government does have the funding to carry out the work and is currently bullish on regional infrastructure.

However, what wasn’t lost on many of those present is the fact that Mr Blair was only announcing a preferred option, not an actual plan to start construction.

There is no guarantee at this stage that the work will be carried out.

As a result I think the announcement got a little lost in the jubilation of groups who have been protesting against an alternative proposal, to construct another dam between Carcoar Dam and Canowindra on the Belubula River.

This alternative plan would have resulted in the flooding of the heritage listed Cliefden Caves, a plan which Mr Blair conceded would have seen the State Government locked in a Land and Environment Court for anywhere upwards of a decade.

If the plan to raise the Wyangala wall level does go ahead the cost would be massive.

Along with the direct wall cost will be the cost associated with relocating and reconstructing a significant amount of infrastructure throughout Wyangala.

One of our facebook followed posted the following very valid question last week.

“What will happen to Wyangala Holiday Park? An extra 10 mts would take out most of the park and camping spots?”

I have no idea how much land would be flooded by increasing the wall height but as an example increasing the wall height at Warragamba Dam 14 metres is expected to flood 4700 hectares of land so the impact around Wyangala would have to be significant.

Alongside the current facilities at Wyangala others located around the dam would have to be relocated including at Grabine.

I’m not against the plan but at this stage there are a lot of unanswered questions that would need to be addressed long before the bulldozers move in.

And in the meantime the Coalition would need to be re-elected next year for the plan to remain on the table.