Clarence Valley mayor Ian Tiley
Clarence Valley mayor Ian Tiley

Tenterfield eyes our precious water

By RENEE FORD

renee.ford@dailyexaminer.com.au

IT seems everyone wants a drop of the Clarence.

This time it's Tenterfield Shire Council, which resolved last month to support any move that could provide more water in desperate times. Tenterfield councillor and former mayor Keith Pickstone, pictured, said the Iemma Government's no-dam policy was 'incredibly irresponsible' and the Tenterfield Shire Council would support any move to dam and/or divert the Clarence River to the western fall into the Murray Darling headwaters.

"We're in a drastic situation so anything has to be looked at, whether it be damming or diverting," he said.

Clarence Valley mayor Ian Tiley said the matter had been debated and council had 'resolved unanimously' that it would not support any diversion of the Clarence River.

"I've been to a number of conferences ? state, national and local government conferences since July-August of this year and I expect that Tenterfield will be the first of many councils who may make similar decisions," he said.

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"I think The Daily Examiner's campaign is very commendable, I obviously support it, as does council."

Cr Pickstone said there had been very little done over the last 20 years to maintain and increase water infrastructure in NSW.

"We're looking at the whole of the Border River system being able to access more water for the flow down to the Darling," he said.

"It has virtually no benefit to Tenterfield itself. We acknowledge that there is a responsibility by the shire because of its geographic position to do what we can to promote any extra flow into the river system and that includes infrastructure for that storage. It's not a council project, council is just supporting the idea ... . The requirements for water are so drastic I don't think anyone should be pussy-footing around.

"I know that in general politicians are taking the view that sooner or later it will rain and all this will go away. But if the recognition of climate change is real, we're going to have water problems for a long time. It's about time that somebody took the bull by the horns and try to ignore the no dam policy and at least give some consideration."

Cr Pickstone said no thought had been given to increased water requirements.

Tenterfield Shire Council's decision follows influential media personality Alan Jones' call for the Howard Government to investigate a post-World War Two idea to pipe two million megalitres of water annually from the Clarence River to the Murray Darling Basin.

"I whole-heartedly support Alan Jones' ideas," Cr Pickstone said.

"Governments talk about the need for saving water. I don't believe it should ever have got to this stage."

Cr Pickstone said desalination was impossible in Tenterfield, adding there had been no serious discussion on recycling grey water as yet.

Retiring Federal Member for Page Ian Causley was unavailable for comment yesterday but has previously spoken to The Daily Examiner regarding this contentious issue.

"The flow of the Clarence can't be diverted, so it will continue to run out to sea," he said previously.



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