Wyangala planning begins

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke at Wyangala Dam.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke at Wyangala Dam.

Preliminary investigative and planning work to raise the Wyangala Dam Wall are under way, with WaterNSW progressing an environmental impact study, early scoping, community engagement, concept design and the final business case.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said she welcomed the update from WaterNSW, who have been working hard to keep the community informed on the important water infrastructure project.

"It is great to see the project well underway with early works progressing," Ms Cooke said.

"I look forward to these initial works being completed so we can get shovels in the ground on this important work to increase the capacity of Wyangala Dam for an additional 650 gigalitres."

The environmental impact study's first draft will be made public in mid-2021 and will involve a public submissions process.

The intention of the EIS process is to ultimately address any matters of significant environmental impact in line with strict state and federal government environmental regulations.

Investigations into likely inundation levels are also advancing and should be finalised by September this year.

The project's first major construction work is the redevelopment of the Reflections Holiday Park, which is scheduled to commence in October, and estimated to take up to 12 months.

In May, partner company WaterSecure signed on to oversee upcoming work on the wall raising.

Ms Cooke said the announcement means the Wyangala Dam wall-raising will be fast tracked.

The project will increase the size of the current dam by more than 50 per cent - or 650 gigalitres.

"The Wyangala Dam expansion is vital for ensuring water security and flood mitigation for the towns and villages, industry, agriculture and horticulture across the region," she said.

"We will have shovels in the ground by October for this historic project.

"Our communities have done it tough with the drought and COVID-19, but we are resilient and will look back knowing that we have been responsible for the recovery of our state's economy.

"Thanks to the improved water security for our prime agricultural regions, farmers will be able to produce food and vital exports that will play a crucial role in our nation's future."

Ms Cooke has also welcomed the news that local businesses can register their interest to work with WaterNSW on the Wyangala Dam project.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey announced earlier in the month that an online business portal for local businesses who were keen to be part of the $650 million damn wall raising project had been launched.

Ms Cooke said she encouraged local businesses to register.

"This is a fantastic economic opportunity for our communities, particularly at a time when other work might be slowing down," she said.

"This is an opportunity for businesses of all sizes, so I urge anyone who wants to be part of this project to register their interest.

"Be part of improving water security in the Lachlan Valley, and be part of this incredible infrastructure project."

Local business owners can register their interest online at www.waternsw.com.au/wyangalabusiness

On Monday, the water level in Wyangala had risen to 17.5 per cent.

That's from a February low of eight per cent.