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Tag Archives | Warragamba Dam

Raising Warrangamba Dam Wall Impacts

The NSW Nature Conservation Council (NCC) says that up to 1000 hectares of world heritage area and 3700 hectares of national park will be inundated for up to two weeks by raising Warragamba Dam wall.

The NCC is very concerned about 58 threatened species within the area already impacted by  recent bushfires including the koala, critically-endangered regent honeyeater, greater glider, broad-headed snake, brushtail rock wallaby, eucalyptus benthamii and eucalyptus glaucina.

In January 2020 the World Heritage Centre asked the Commonwealth Government to provide an update on the state of conservation of the Blue Mountains heritage area after more than 80 per cent was ravaged by fire last summer.

In response, the Commonwealth Government said Water NSW would re-assess bushfire impacts and include them in the pending environmental impact statement (EIS).  However, to date the draft EIS states Water NSW has no intention of re-assessing the area impacted by fire.

Ornithologist Martin Schulz said last summer’s Green Wattle Creek blaze burnt most of the southern Blue Mountains leaving only a small unburnt section which will likely be flooded by the Dam. “The ecosystems are different and parts will be in recovery for decades. How can an assessment done before the fires be valid? Dr Schulz asked. The fires changed so many things,” he said.

The draft EIS shows before the bushfires only 15 hours of spotlight searches were conducted for the koala, greater glider and squirrel glider in the inundation area, despite a 61 hour recommendation. Dr Schulz says this is “bafflingly low” especially for koalas given the area is so vast and how hard they are to find.

The time spent gathering sample collections of the squirrel glider and brush-tailed phascogale also didn’t meet the guidelines with only 1820 nights completed but 3224 nights recommended. The assessment of the large-eared pied bat was 11 times less the suggested amount with traps laid for 78 nights yet 864 recommended. “The low survey effort for the large-eared pied bat is particularly disappointing,” Dr Schulz said.

Community group Give a Dam spokesman Harry Burkitt has called on the Federal Government to intervene.

“The barrow-loads of leaked material now in the public domain show (Western Sydney) Minister Stuart Ayres and Infrastructure NSW haven’t even bothered following NSW guidelines, let alone those required under federal law or by UNESCO,” he said.

Infrastructure NSW, which oversees the project, says feedback from state and federal governments on the draft EIS is important in developing the final version. “The final decision on the dam raising proposal will only be made after all environmental, cultural, financial and planning assessments are complete,” a spokeswoman said.

The World Heritage Committee, which selects sites for UNESCO’s world heritage list, has expressed concerns over the project and will review the EIS before the Federal Government’s decision.

Give a Dam about World Heritage Wilderness

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness is concerned that the insurance industry and developers are lobbying politicians to raise Warragamba Dam wall [1]. The Foundation believes that they are primarily doing this because raising the dam wall would generate 40,000 additional home insurance policies in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley resulting from new floodplain developments [2].

In response, the Foundation is lodging a shareholder resolution to QBE’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) requiring them to protect our Blue Mountains World Heritage listing.

The Foundation plans to submit the following resolution to QBE:

“Shareholders request that the company develop a policy which guarantees QBE does not invest in, insure or advocate for any projects or works that could result in negative impacts occurring within the boundaries of a World Heritage or Ramsar property.”

The Foundation states that to get world heritage protection on the agenda, they need 100 QBE shareholders to sign on to our resolution on world heritage before Friday.

The Foundation believes they are so close to reaching 100, and are asking that if you own QBE shares could you please sign on to this form to help get them across the line. If you experience any trouble during sign on, or have any questions, please contact the Foundation at hello@giveadam.org.au

[1] Insurance Council of Australia
[2] Infrastructure NSW

Warragamba Dam wall

If the Warragamba Dam wall is raised by 14 metres, the dam will hold over two additional Sydney Harbours, 4,700 hectares of World Heritage listed National Parks, 1,800 hectares of declared Wilderness Areas and 65 kilometres of Blue Mountains’ wild rivers would be inundated and destroyed.

It is arguably the most protected natural landscape in Australia. The Coxs, Kowmung, Kedumba, Natti, Wollondilly and Little Rivers would be flooded for months at a time.

Many of our Club members throughout NSW visit these areas.

Without our support, internationally significant environments that are recognised in the Blue Mountains World Heritage listing would die from sedimentation, erosion and invasion of exotic plants.

There are 48 threatened plant and animal species which inhabit the proposed inundation area.

Species such as the vulnerable Camden White Gum and the Kowmung Hakea are predominantly found within the inundation area, with the dam raising likely pushing many species close to extinction.

 

The area of proposed inundation is home to hundreds of Indigenous heritage sites.

Delicate rock art and marker sites will be forever destroyed if they are flooded by the raised dam for any length of time.

“Our history and our stories are in the landscape that surrounds Lake Burragorang. When Warragamba Dam flooded the valley in 1960, our lands and cultural sites were flooded. We do not want to see this story repeated with the remaining sites. Each time we lose a site, we lose part of our identity.”

– Kazan Brown

Gundungurra traditional owner and Warragamba resident

 

Information and photos courtesy of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

For more information, visit their website.