Set to boil: ‘Water wars’ about to ramp up over Dunoon dam
THE 'water wars' between Rous County Council and Water Northern Rivers was about to go up a notch.
Rous' Future Water 2060 Project included the idea of a Dunoon Dam plus a number of other options. The plan was made public in July and received more than 1290 submissions.
A full report on the outcomes of the public exhibition period will be de made public this week, ahead of Rous County councillors debating it at their ordinary meeting on Wednesday, December 16.
Ahead of this, Water Northern Rivers, a community-based alliance of environmentalists, people who live in The Channon and Dunoon, plus Northern Rivers residents, released a leaked version of Rous' public consultation summary.
Spokesman Jim Richardson said the group had gained access to a presentation made to Rous councillors at a workshop on November 18, which laid bare the community opposition to the Dunoon Dam as a water supply solution.
Mr Richardson said 91 per cent of submissions rejected Dunoon Dam.
"The takeaway message from the consultation is that the community, yet again, has overwhelmingly told Rous to seek a better solution."
The figure of 91 per cent in opposition to the current plan included all written and online submissions.
Last week, Ballina MP Tamara Smith supported Water Northern Rivers on social media.
"92 per cent of community submissions oppose the proposed Dunoon Dam. Of 1298 submissions 1181 said no way to the dam. Well done to Water Northern Rivers for uncovering the truth," the Greens MP said.
Rous County Council's general manager, Phillip Rudd, confirmed 1298 online survey responses and other written submissions were received.
Of these, at least 75 per cent were received from residents within the council's service area (Ballina Shire, Byron Shire, Lismore City and Richmond Valley).
"At least 70 per cent of responses/submissions received from within council's service area were provided by Lismore City residents - particularly those living in Dunoon, The Channon and other nearby areas," he said.
"The significant concentration of respondents in these Lismore City areas was expected given local concerns about the proposed Dunoon Dam.
"Of the total surveys and written submissions received, around 90 per cent of respondents did not agree that a new Dunoon Dam was the most suitable long-term water security solution."
Mr Rudd said environmental, ecological, cultural heritage and economic impacts were the most common concerns referred to by those respondents who did not agree with the suitability of the dam.
"Council has always acknowledged that cultural heritage, environmental and ecological concerns remain the most important considerations in relation to the proposed dam," he said.
"The majority of respondents who did not agree with the suitability of the proposed Dunoon Dam most commonly preferred using the following alternative water supply security options - enhanced demand management initiatives or water recycling."
Rous County Council will meet to discuss the public reaction to the Future Water 2060 plan on December 16.
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