Don’t give up on Dunoon Dam, says Richmond Valley Council
Richmond Valley Council is calling on Rous County Council to continue investigations into the proposed Dunoon Dam.
At last night's meeting, Richmond Valley councillors voted unanimously to write to Rous outlining their concerns about recent changes to the Future Water Project 2060, notably the removal of the proposed dam from the strategy.
Mayor Robert Mustow said people needed time to think about the consequences of that decision.
Rous supplies bulk water to the Mid Richmond towns and villages of Broadwater, Rileys Hill, Evans Head, Coraki and Woodburn.
"Our council relies on this supply for our community and to support continued growth in the Northern Rivers region," Cr Mustow said.
"There is no doubt the Future Water Project 2060 will help future proof the region's drinking water supplies, and support increased resilience in the face of changing climate conditions.
"That is why we are asking Rous to look at all aspects of water security to ensure the levels of service our community expects can be maintained, including studies on the viability of groundwater and the Dunoon Dam."
Cr Mustow said Richmond Valley Council was undertaking its own investigations to improve water security for the Casino water supply.
He said the study would consider a number of options, including additional off-stream storage at Casino, raising Jabour Weir, exploring groundwater sources, or connecting to the Rous County Council regional supply.
"Given the limited groundwater resources in our district, and the water quality challenges of the Richmond River catchment, council expects that connection to Rous will emerge as a strong option in the study," he said.
"In this regard, the Dunoon Dam proposal could be a significant benefit to our whole community and council supports continued investigation into this option."
Meanwhile, a rally was held in Lismore on February 12, organised by Widjabul Wia-bal people, to urge Rous County Council to stay firm with their decision to stop Dunoon Dam and to rezone the land earmarked to be flooded.
"We bear responsibilities to our ancestors who have been laid to rest on that ground," said Aunty Lana Hunt for Widjabul Wia-bal traditional custodians.
"We feel this responsibility deeply.
"Since the dam was first proposed in 1993, it has caused us so much stress - the threat to obliterate our heritage and flood the graves of our ancestors.
"Over and over again we have voiced our objections and explained the significance of all country to our living culture and families."