Bid to drought-proof Lachlan Valley

SOURCE: Central Western Daily
Nanjing Night Net

CENTRAL Tablelands Water (CTW) wants all Calare’s federal election candidates to back a new 90,000 megalitre dam on the Belubula River near Canowindra.

But Orange is unlikely to benefit, with the water provider’s sights set on drought-proofing Canowindra, Blayney, Cowra, Parkes, Forbes and other towns in the Lachlan Valley.

The Needles site on the Belubula River was earmarked as a better location for the Carcoar Dam 40 years ago, but was abandoned after political wrangling, CTW general manager Tony Perry said.

State Water put the proposal back on the table last year when Infrastructure NSW recommended it as one of several dams for regional NSW in the next 20 years.

“Together with Blayney and Cabonne councils CTW is very keen for the proposal to get a guensey,” Mr Perry said.

As well as providing water security for the Lachlan Valley during drought, Mr Perry said the dam would offer flood mititgation for the Belubula valley downstream, including Canowindra, and take pressure off the Lachlan River.

Nationals incumbent John Cobb and Country Labor candidate Jess Jennings have both taken an interest in the project, Mr Perry said.

Mr Cobb fell short of saying he would lobby for the project if elected, but said he supported the investigation of permanent water security options for the entire electorate.

“Should I be given the responsibility to represent Calare and be part of a new government I will further discuss the water security options for the region with the relevant stakeholders,” he said.

Dr Jennings appeared to be on the same page, saying he was in favour of a regional solution for water security, but would need to further investigate the “pros and cons” before promoting the Needles dam for federal funds.

“I think that it has strong potential to alleviate urban pressure around the Blayney area,” he said.

“The Needles dam provides a much more widespread benefit than the Macquarie Pipeline.”

Mr Perry believes the push for the Needles dam will not be affected by the $20 million the federal government has allocated to the Macquarie Pipeline.

Although costs for the dam are yet to be calculated, Mr Perry said it would be cost effective and would mean plans for an upgrade to Lake Rowlands could be abandoned.

He also hoped to get backing from Centroc to continue lobbying for the new dam.

Sizing up:

* Proposed Needles dam on the Belubula River: 90,000 megalitres

* Carcoar Dam: 35,800 megalitres

* Suma Park Dam: 18,073 megalitres

* Lake Rowlands: 4500 megalitres

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POINTY END: Central Tablelands Water general manager Tony Perry and Cabonne deputy mayor Lachie MacSmith at the site of the proposed Needles dam on the Belubula River.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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