Club Cowra

Council To Keep Pushing Wyangala Dam

Written by: The Cowra Phoenix

IMAGE: The Wyangala Dam Wall Raising Project is still in limbo with no funding for it in the recent Federal Budget.

Cowra Shire Council Mayor Bill West has encouraged the community to “remain positive” despite no indication of funding for Cowra and Wyangala Dam in the second federal budget delivered by Labor Party Treasurer, Dr. Jim Chalmers.

Mayor West, who along with Council and the Central NSW Joint Organisation has long advocated for the Wyangala Dam wall to be raised after record flooding throughout the Central West over the past decade. Mayor West said that it was vital all stakeholders continue to engage and there are reasons to still be optimistic.

“It is particularly important our State Government counterparts jump on the front foot especially now with a new Labor Government in power as floods (and drought) won’t disappear,” he said.

“Last year the Central NSW Joint Organisation backed calls by Lachlan Valley Water for the NSW Government to finalise the business and environmental cases for the Wyangala Dam wall raising project as a matter of priority,” said Mayor West.

“We are still waiting but we at Council have long supported a business case for the raising of the Wyangala Dam wall provided it is evidence-based, transparent and consultative,” Mr West said.

“A business case will at least ensure some stability and allow for detailed planning for both water security and flood attenuation for the Lachlan valley.” Record spills from Wyangala Dam peaked at a rate of 230,000ML a day – well above flows of 125,000ML earlier in November 2022 and at least 25,000ML above the infamous 1990 levels (205,000ML).

“We have been waiting for decades for a decision on additional storage for the Lachlan valley and we need to get this finalised so we can effectively plan for the future of our communities,” Mr. West. “It’s imperative the new government continues with the business case and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project – just as the previous government had so we can have informed discussions and make decisions,” Mayor West said.

Mayor West’s comments come after a report from Infrastructure NSW released this time last year suggesting the Wyangala Dam wall raising project not would proceed.

“To do nothing means we will continue to bear the brunt of more and more severe flooding,” Mayor West said.

“Whichever way it goes I know all communities and councils along the Lachlan are in agreement that something needs to be done because as it stands, we are still having the same challenges we’ve always had and the same conversations without any real action.”

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