Media Release: Don’t Raise the Warragamba Dam Wall

The Kowmung River

The Kowmung River

Coming on the heels of plans to rip up native vegetation laws in the city and the bush, conservationists are reeling from today’s announcement to raise of the Warragamba dam wall as it would damage the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

“There would be significant and obvious damage to World Heritage listed wilderness and national parks upstream of the dam.  The lower reaches of protected wild rivers, including the Kowmung, Coxs and Nattai Rivers, would be damaged.  Flood inundation will scar wilderness areas by killing river bank vegetation and depositing sediment”, Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness said, responding to the Premier, Mike Baird’s announcement of this morning.

“Even with the proposed dam wall raising the other half of Hawkesbury-Nepean’s catchment south of Sydney can produce major floods, as experienced at Picton less than two weeks ago.  Big floods from the Grose, Colo and Macdonald Rivers and the South Metropolitan Catchments will still affect residential property”, he said.

“What the Warragamba dam raising proposal will do is encourage massive urban sprawl over flood prone areas, putting more people at risk of the floods.  So the dam wall raising proposal is a half measure, one that creates a false sense of security and probably produce no net gain in public safely.  Further, urban development on previously flood prone land will further degrade the Hawkesbury-Nepean River from addition urban runoff and sewage discharges.  Oyster farmers will also be badly hit by extended fresh water floods from mitigation discharges killing off oyster farms and causing economic ruin,” Mr Muir said.

“A better solution is to use the capacity of the existing dam for flood mitigation and rely on the auxiliary spillway on the eastern side of the dam wall to carry extreme floods past the dam with safety.  This proposal will provide many of the benefits of the proposed dam wall raising for a faction of the cost.  More importantly, it respects our international obligations to protect World Heritage, something that, like climate change, appears to be of no concern to this current NSW Government,” said Mr Muir.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)