The current flood crisis being felt by many farmers and people in towns along the Lachlan River Valley may have been avoided if a flood mitigation section was constructed at Wyangala Dam, and Lachlan Valley Water is shining a spotlight on the call to raise the wall.
Moderate to major flooding is occurring around Forbes and Jemalong as flood waters make their way down the Lachlan River from the recent rain events.
Lachlan Valley Water chair, Tom Green, says what we are seeing in the Macquarie system at the moment justifies raising Wyangala Dam wall and creating a flood mitigation section within the dam.
"Burrendong dam was full at the start of the last rainfall event but the flood storage section of the dam has held back hundreds of thousands of megalitres of water to see only a minor flood across the Macquarie Valley from downstream tributary inflows," Mr Green said.
"Here in the Lachlan Valley, NSW Water has had to release similar amounts of water from Wyangala Dam as the Burrendong dam inflows, creating major flooding as water also entered from downstream tributaries at the same time. Raising the dam wall will greatly reduce the chances of an event like this occurring again.
"WaterNSW have been able to bring Wyangala down to 95 per cent over the last week, but we face another forecast rain event over the next few days so there's a fair bit of anxiety out there now."
The Wyangala Dam Wall Raising project is expected to increase the dam's capacity to hold an additional 650 gigalitres, which will increase capacity by 53 per cent.
The proposed project will see the dam wall height raised, which will increase the Full Supply Level by 10 metres.
There will also be a flood mitigation section within the project which will help protect communities like Cowra, Forbes and Condobolin as well as tens of thousands of hectares of farmland.
"The NSW government must get on with the job of protecting local communities and farmers in the Lachlan Valley from major flood events like this and it needs to be done quickly," Mr Green said.
"We are seeing massive cereal crop losses in the Lachlan, with many crops that were about to be harvested that will never see a harvester through them.
"There are also a large number of irrigated crops planted which will now be destroyed.
"It's also going to take a long period of time for paddocks to dry out after this event to enable a summer crop to be planted.
"It's now time for the NSW Government to act and raise the dam wall to protect farmers, towns and the whole community, from moderate and major flood peaks."
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