WILL raising Warragamba Dam wall protect or further threaten the Hawkesbury and all of western Sydney? That is the question.
A debate has erupted over the benefit of raising the wall, after an announcement by Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week that supported raising the wall by 23 metres.
The Gazette posted a question on its Facebook page asking readers what they thought of the proposal, and of the 80-plus comments there was an overwhelming push against the idea.
“Better for it to spill slowly than have them let go an even larger mass of water which would definitely cause damage,” Malcolm Hancock said.
From Joe Burns: “Hell no! What a waste of money. Just regulate the flow and stop fudging building regulations to allow construction on flood prone areas.”
Hawkesbury Council also debated the topic at its meeting last Tuesday with Councillor Patrick Conolly saying he was surprised that some of the councillors, including Mary Lyons-Buckett and Leigh Williams, would oppose raising the dam wall when he felt it was what the community wanted.
Councillor Bob Porter said raising the dam wall wouldn’t be done for years and flood mitigation needed to start now, including dredging.
Despite this, WSROC vice president and Hawkesbury deputy mayor, Tiffany Tree, said of the dam wall announcement “I hope that this could be the beginning a much-needed partnership in providing a piece of infrastructure which has been identified by Infrastructure NSW as being the most critical in their recent report,” Cr Tree said. Hawkesbury flood expert John Miller agreed, saying the Hawkesbury-Nepean Flood Mitigation Action Committee had been trying to achieve flood mitigation by tri-level government co-operation for 17 years. Labor candidate for Macquarie Susan Templeman also welcomed the Gillard Government’s plans to establish a new National Insurance Affordability Council (NIAC) which would examine options for flood mitigation, including raising the dam wall, and other proposals within the dam’s current form.
Londonderry MP Bart Bassett said there appeared to be consensus from governments at all three levels that the dam wall should be raised to protect homes and reduce the cost of insurance.