Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Dunoon Dam – Ballina Council resolves to revive Dunoon Dam option

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Dunoon and District Gazette

In its first meeting for 2021, Ballina Shire Council has voted to support further investigation into the Dunoon Dam in an effort to revive the proposal and secure the region’s future water supply.

The motion was brought to the meeting on 28 January by Ballina’s Deputy Mayor Cr Sharon Cadwallader, with the support of Crs Eoin Johnston and Stephen McCarthy.

Councillors voted in favour of the revisiting the dam proposal, expressing concerns about the viability of alternative groundwater sources.

The motion passed states: “That Ballina Shire Council send a clear message to Rous County Council that Council has major concerns about a secure water strategy for the region and ask that Rous County Council continue with further investigations as to the viability of the Dunoon Dam proposal. The groundwater on the Alstonville Plateau has many demands on it and should not be relied upon as a major source of supply.”

When Rous voted to shelve the dam proposal in late 2020, Chairperson Keith Williams said the Council would continue to investigate viable long-term solutions, including Alstonville Plateau groundwater.

“Upgrading the existing Marom Creek Water Treatment Plant to maximise existing groundwater provides the quickest and most cost-effective option for Council to increase the system’s secure yield from 2024,” Mr Williams said.

“The focus is on exploring the viability of using recycled water to meet the needs of a growing population amid a changing climate.

“Long-term water security remains a concern and Council’s decision to revise the long-term strategy has not been taken lightly,” he said.

Rous County Council General Manager Phillip Rudd said ongoing water conservation efforts and further investigation into water reuse will underpin Council’s water management strategy.

“Despite Council’s success in reducing the amount of water used by residents, based on our current demand and future predictions, it is clear that solely relying on reduced water use is not enough to achieve water security in the long-term for our growing population,” Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd said Council is taking innovative action to investigate the use of recycled water as an option to increase water supply.

“Council’s position is that recycled water should one day form part of drinking water supplies in New South Wales. For this reason, Council is investigating the potential of a pilot recycled water scheme to supply Perradenya Estate near Lismore. This will not be without significant challenges though given the regulatory and licensing requirements,” Mr Rudd said.

Dunoon and District Gazette Feb-March 2021

A rescission motion on the decision to abandon the dam, brought by Rous councillors Sharon Cadwallader, Richmond Valley Council Mayor Robert Mustow and Cr Sandra Humphrys, is likely to be raised at the next Rous County Council meeting, scheduled for 17 February.

This article appeared in the Dunoon and District Gazette, February – March 2021.

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