North Coast Water executive manager Ian Preston, left, speaks to the media at the site of the Shannon Creek Dam.
North Coast Water executive manager Ian Preston, left, speaks to the media at the site of the Shannon Creek Dam.

Water supply project enters its final phase

By ADRIAN MILLER

IT'S HAD its supporters ? and many detractors ? but after more than a decade, construction on the final phase of the Clarence Valley Regional Water Supply Strategy will begin in August.

Council awarded the final contract to Leighton Constructions, with the Shannon Creek dam and associated works scheduled to begin soon.

The project means the Clarence Valley will have a fully sustainable water supply once the dam becomes operational in 2009, council said. The overall cost of the project is budgeted for $180 million.

The State Government will subsidise just over $32 million, and a cost sharing arrangement with the Coffs Harbour City Council will see it contribute nearly $80 million.

The Clarence Valley Council will have to fork out just over $68 million.

The Regional Project Committee chairman, Councillor Fred Morgan, said it was an historic occasion for the region.

"It's a milestone for everyone involved and for the Clarence Valley community," he said. "It's a huge infrastructure project which augurs well for the Clarence Valley for many, many years to come."

Cr Morgan said when fully completed the dam would guarantee the Valley 900 days of water supply.

But not everyone is happy.

Clarence Environment Centre honorary secretary John Edwards said the dam should not go ahead because of the ecological damage it would cause to the area.

"They are spending $180 million on a dam that will only work for 18 days of the year," he said.

"It's a sad indictment on both the legislation that's supposedly in place to protect the environment and on those responsible for administering it because there is absolute- ly no reason for the dam."



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