A 3D version of what a possible Dunoon Dam would look like is available from the Rous County Council website.
A 3D version of what a possible Dunoon Dam would look like is available from the Rous County Council website.

Proposed Dunoon dam ‘a quarter of a billion-dollar gamble’

FOUR former Rous County Councillors have come out against Dunoon Dam, describing it as “a quarter of a billion-dollar gamble, not a guarantee of a secure water system”.

The quartet, Simon Clough, Duncan Dey, Ros Irwin and Richard Staples, have between them 29 years experience with the council

They have sent a letter to Rous County Council’s General Manager and the other councillors, stating if a dam went ahead at Dunoon it would be a “failure of governance”.

“We believe that Rous is moving in the wrong direction to provide water security by pursuing the Dunoon dam option,” their letter stated.

“As former councillors we know that committing to a $ 2-3,000,000 Environmental Impact Statement is tantamount to approving the dam project.”

They say they are strongly opposed to the dam for the several reasons.

“Firstly, we are aware that this dam proposal has been rejected twice before in 1995 and in 2014. We do not agree with the evaluations that brought the dam option back into contention.

“The significance of the Aboriginal heritage and the burial ground has not changed since 1995.

“The Endangered Ecological Community of nearly 60 hectares of lowland rainforest will still be destroyed.

“The impact on koalas (devastated by 2019-20 fires in NSW), platypus and other endangered species will still be catastrophic regardless of any ‘fauna salvage’ plans.
The hydrology of Rocky Creek will be further deviated from natural/current patterns. There is no way that any system of offsets can repair the scale of destruction that will be caused by the proposal.”

The group says one of the most significant changes since 2014 is the awareness of the impacts of climate change.

“There is more knowledge/awareness about the limitations of dams in creating water security,” the group states in their letter.

“They are the solution from the past, not unlike the infamous coal-fired electricity generators.”

The quartet believe Rous needs to look at other options.

“As former Rous Councillors we understand that water security is vital to our communities,” they state in their letter.

“However, we are convinced that the Dunoon dam project is not the 21st century solution to this goal. We need fresh eyes looking at green powered desalination, roof water harvesting, reuse of water and of course water efficiency.

“We see Rous as being poised between 20th century big dam thinking and 21st century water management for drought resilience based on a mix of supply options, including some that don’t rely on rain. We call on Rous to choose a smarter future to safeguard industry, businesses, and households in our region.”

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