Discussion on water plans

The construction of a new dam on the Belubula will be one of the hot topics at the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Water Augmentation which begins in Orange on Wednesday, May 17.

The hearing will begin at 1pm at the Orange Ex-Service Club (Coral Room), 231-243 Anson Street.

The Inquiry is made up of nine NSW Parliamentarians who are examining social, economic and environmental aspects of water management practices in New South Wales.

Orange and Regional Water Security Alliance and the Save Cliefden Caves Association have been invited by the Parliamentary Inquiry to present their views about water security in the region,

Both groups made submissions to the Inquiry last August.

Both organisations are raising major concerns surrounding a proposed new dam on the Belubula River.

Cyril Smith of the Orange and Region Water Security Alliance will be presenting the Inquiry with a critique of government responses to Central West water issues.

“It must be remembered that building water storage dams actually takes water away from the river system due to evaporation and leakage. In some cases, this can be substantive,” Mr Smith said.

“In summer the water storage dams for Orange could lose an amount of water approximately the same as the usage. 

“The building of dams will inevitably interfere with natural water flows and the ecology of the river system,” Mr Smith said.

Harry Burkitt, Secretary of the Save Cliefden Caves Association, will be discussing environmental impacts and geological problems surrounding the dam. 

“It has to be remembered that dams at Cranky Rock and Needles Gap have been investigated by government at least three times in the past, each time concluding that it was a bad idea,” Mr Burkitt said.

“The local geology means the dam would not only inundate the precious Cliefden Caves, but also be at risk of leaking and causing earthquakes.

“The NSW government is spending 6 million dollars on a project that just doesn’t add up. It will cause a huge amount of destruction, for very doubtful returns.

“The submission process saw people from both the Central West and around Australia voice their concerns to the Inquiry about the proposed dams.

“Our organisation represents the voices of over 11,000 people, 1,000 of which live in the Central West.

“The support from the public continues to grow.

“From Landcare groups to speleological (caving) societies, the message is the same – Cliefden is a world treasure that must be protected for future generations,” Mr Burkitt said.