A cranky response to the Needles Gap dam proposed for the Central West could result in a Cranky new dam.
The NSW government released a preliminary report this week that recommended Cranky Rock near Canowindra as a potential site for a new dam.
The report came after $1 million was spent on a feasibility study into a new dam on the Belubula River near Canowindra last year, where the site of Needle’s Gap was the first option.
Environmentalists were outraged by the Needles Gap proposal, citing potential damage to limestone caves in the area.
Water Minister Kevin Humphries said the Cranky Rock dam avoided the engineering challenges and environmental considerations of Needles Gap, including the caves.
“Cranky Rock was chosen from 15 sites investigated in the Belubula and Lachlan catchments,” he said.
“A large dam of up to 700 gigalitres at Cranky Rock has the potential advantages of increasing water security for central councils and other users throughout the Lachlan Valley.
“A Cranky Rock water supply would allow Carcoar Dam to be networked into Central Tablelands Water, allowing it to extend the network and provide back-up drought supplies and secure water to a number of towns beyond the current network,” Mr Humphries said.
Greens NSW water spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham was happy to see the demise of the Needles Gap proposal, but said the Cranky Rock proposal was just as bad.
“The National Party’s Needles Gap dam is dead on arrival. The Greens always said that it was a back-of-the-beer-coaster dam that made no sense and this report has confirmed our suspicions,” Mr Buckingham said.
“However, switching support for another new dam at Cranky Rock makes as little sense as Needles Gap did. The National Party need to read the report they commissioned which clearly says the most economically efficient solution is an upgrade of Wyangala Dam, not a new dam elsewhere.
“NSW does not need new dams, we need smart local water solutions such as storm water harvesting, increasing efficiency and recycling.”
NSW Farmers Conservation and Resource Management Committee member Helen Dalton disagreed with this, saying new dams were vital for rural and regional areas to increase productivity and help arrest declining populations.
“We’re not going to get the people out here without jobs.”
More water from dams would lead to more agricultural productivity, leading to more job opportunities both on farms and in rural towns, helping to attract more people to live in rural areas, she said.
“We can’t all live in Sydney…we need dams to boost our economies. We need water,” Ms Dalton said.
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