$220 million dam slated for Northern Rivers
THE construction of the new 50-gigalitre Dunoon Dam is at the centre of securing the region's water future, according to a report by Rous Water Council.
The document, called The Future Water Project 2060, identified the most viable options for increasing the council's bulk water supply "to ensure it is secure, resilient in the face of changing climate conditions and able to sustain continued growth for at least the next 40 years".
Details of the proposed Dunoon Dam have now been made public, ahead of the council's meeting where the proposal will be discussed and decided on.
Although it is not yet a 'done deal', according to the report, the Dunoon Dam project is "the lowest cost option for securing council's water supply to 2060 and beyond".
An idea originally discussed by Rous County Council in 1995, the plan had to be brought forward as current water yields and expected demand will be at the same level by 2024.
By 2060, the current water infrastructure would only provide 10,427ML/annum, while demand by then is expected to reach 16,054ML/annum.
The Dunoon Dam site is located on Rocky Creek, downstream of the existing dam, approximately 2.5 km west of Dunoon, with a catchment area of approximately 19 sqkm.
The dam's construction requirements will be significant.
"Ancillary works include 8km of water pipelines, 12km of road works, two new road bridges, a water pump station, on-site storage facilities, power upgrades and public recreation facilities such as walking tracks, picnic areas and amenities," the document explains.
Around 50 per cent of the land within the Dunoon Dam footprint is currently owned by Rous County Council, and it "would seek to purchase the remaining land within the buffer zone
surrounding the dam."
The total initial capital cost for a 50GL dam is estimated in the report at $220 million.
The document recommends council to progress preliminary investigations in relation to the Dunoon Dam, "including the approval for the allocation of a $100,000 operating budget."
Environmental, social and cultural implications of the project are also detailed by the document.
Implementation of Dunoon Dam has an estimated lead time of approximately nine years, to allow for additional investigations, approvals, construction and filling of the dam.
This means that a scenario that includes Dunoon Dam in the region's water future still "will require an interim solution to meet demand until approximately 2029".