By BEV JORDAN
Residents living near the Hawkesbury River are being urged to have a say on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) announced last by WaterNSW, on raising the height of the Warragamba Dam wall.
The EIS is based on the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Risk Management Strategy– Resilient Valley, Resilient Communities, a long-term plan to minimise significant risks to life and livelihoods and damage to urban and rural property which was released by the State Government in May 2017.
The EIS summary states that raising the dam wall by 14 metres will reduce the risk to life and reduce flood damage downstream by 75 per cent.
The EIS is on public exhibition until November 12th and there are several webinars being held between October 12 and November 4th.
Warragamba Dam, which has a 142-metre high wall, took 12 years to build from 1948 to 1960. The dam wall was strengthened and raised by five metres in the 1980s to meet contemporary dam safety standards.
In 2002, a 700-metre-long auxiliary spillway was completed to ensure dam safety in extreme and rare flood events and to bring the dam up to NSW Dams Safety Committee standards.
Hawkesbury City Council has welcomed the release of the EIS saying it will enable the community to understand the potential impacts the project would have on the Hawkesbury region, as well as upstream from the dam.
Hawkesbury City Mayor Patrick Conolly said: “As a region downstream from the dam we need to be very mindful of the potential impacts from flooding, and the impacts to the environment.”
The flooding earlier this year left Hawkesbury City Council with a damage bill of well over $30 million including $24million-worth of damage to roads and bridges.
Council’s damage bill also includes $2.4million in building assets, $3.4 million in park assets and $1.1million in sewer assets. www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/ project/10571.
Council will now review the EIS and will consider its formal position on the project in time to make a submission to WaterNSW.
Environmental groups have raised concerns about the impact inundation will have on a world heritage area and critically endangered species.
To view the EIS and make a submission visit www.waternsw.com.au/wdr. WaterNSW will also be hosting a series of online information sessions during the exhibition period. www.waternsw.com.au/projects/greater-sydney/warragamba-dam-raising