New dams need bill to pass

Dubbo Photo News - - News -

THE ur­gent call for new dams for NSW by Wa­ter Min­is­ter Melinda Pavey may not pass through Par­lia­ment if the de­bate stalls on short­cuts needed to en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion mea­sures to re­duce plan­ning pe­ri­ods.

Con­se­quently, Mem­ber for Dubbo Du­gald Saun­ders is­sued a me­dia state­ment last week en­cour­ag­ing lo­cals to visit the ‘Build the Dams’ web­site and tell Par­lia­ment it’s what they want.

“If we are to en­sure we have greater wa­ter stor­age ca­pac­ity for the next drought, we must have these dams built be­fore the next rainfall event. The dams must be built now,” Mr Saun­ders said.

De­clared emer­gency drought works for NSW in­clude the Mac­quarie River to Or­ange Pipeline and the Bur­ren­dong Dam deep stor­age works. They will be fa­cil­i­tated by the leg­is­la­tion which will also po­ten­tially fast track the con­struc­tion across re­gional NSW.

In a turnaround for the NSW Gov­ern­ment the new dams fol­low decades of ig­nored warn­ings in­clud­ing the NSW Om­buds­man’s 2017 re­port which re­vealed ev­i­dence of il­le­gal dam build­ing was buried by the gov­ern­ment, and sub­se­quently re­ferred to ICAC.

In May 2018, the “Aug­men­ta­tion of wa­ter sup­ply for ru­ral and re­gional NSW port­fo­lio re­port” pre­sented to the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil rec­om­mended then “as a mat­ter of ur­gency” that the NSW Gov­ern­ment de­velop a com­pre­hen­sive wa­ter equa­tion for sup­ply and de­mand in NSW “by March 2020, for the next 50 years”, which is five months time.

The new leg­is­la­tion will have ef­fect for two years and can be ex­tended by up to 12 months by the Min­is­ter for Wa­ter, where towns con­tinue to ex­pe­ri­ence se­vere drought risks.

The NSW Gov­ern­ment is in­vest­ing $130 mil­lion for emer­gency wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture projects to pro­tect over 180,000 res­i­dents of re­gional towns.

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