Rocky Creek Dam.
Rocky Creek Dam. Jacklyn Wagner

Forget dam, desal, or groundwater, Rous should look to tanks

A DUNOON dam, a desalination plant, or pumping a large groundwater reserve at South Ballina are three of the big options to supply our region's water needs until 2060.

In total five options have been proposed under the Future Water Strategy, with ball park costs ranging from $18 million for the pumping of groundwater at South Ballina to $110 million for the Dunoon dam concept.

But Lismore City and Rous Water councillor Vanessa Ekins said she was disappointed that rainwater tanks were ruled out as a key supply option.

Cr Ekins argued if Rous Water paid for rainwater tanks for residents instead of offering a rebate as it does currently it could be cheaper and more effective than the large-scale options.

"Each household should provide their own needs wherever possible," she said.

Rous Water general manager Kyme Lavelle said rainwater tanks would continue to be a centrepiece of enhanced strategies to reduce demand (alongside measures to control leakage) - but were not viable as a pillar of supply.

Demand management strategies are estimated to yield just 400 megalitres - only around 6-7% of the predicted shortfall of 6000 megalitres (6000 million litres) of water by 2060, a third of the total estimated supply requirements.

Other supply options include wastewater recycling and a "staged" Dunoon Dam, with the first phase delayed until 2030.

According to current predictions, climate change will have a significant effect on yields at Rocky Creek Dam post-2030, while demand will increase consistently.