Parliamentary committee to meet farmers, environmentalists over water future for region

DETERMINED: Concerned environmentalists at a meeting near Cliefden Caves, near the Belubula River. Photo: Supplied
DETERMINED: Concerned environmentalists at a meeting near Cliefden Caves, near the Belubula River. Photo: Supplied

The future of Cliefden Caves, the proposed dam on the Belubula River and drought will be discussed when a parliamentary inquiry visits Orange on Wednesday.

Nine NSW parliamentarians are examining the social, economic and environmental impacts of water management.

Inquiry chairman, upper house MP, Robert Brown said water management was crucial for the Central West.

“The committee understands that individuals, community organisations and businesses in Orange have been significantly affected by severe water restrictions, long periods of little or no general security of agricultural water availability and restricted high security water,” he said.

“This is why it is important for the committee to travel to this region and to hear from those who have been directly affected.”

The Orange and Regional Water Security Alliance [ORWSA] and Save Cliefden Caves Association [SCCA] are among groups to make submissions to address the Parliamentary Inquiry into Water Augmentation.

ORWSA spokesman Cyril Smith is opposed to building the new dam.

“It must be remembered that building water storage dams actually takes water away from the river system due to evaporation and leakages,” he said.

“In some cases this can be substantive.

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

SCCA secretary Harry Burkitt said there were geological problems with the dam.

“The NSW government is spending $6 million on a project that just doesn’t add up.”

The hearing is at the Orange Ex-Services Club from 1pm to 5.30pm.