Forbes Shire Council will continue to fight for the raising of the Wyangala Dam wall - and will ask to see a full copy of the business case that led the new State Government to refuse to progress it.
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Our deputy mayor Chris Roylance, Councillors Brian Mattiske and Michele Herbert, have returned from the Murray Darling Association Conference, and have reported back to the council with a renewed focus on water security.
"It's really important that we're aware of what's happening in our own area," Cr Herbert told her fellow councillors at their October meeting.
"I feel very strongly about it now and I think we need to work together to keep lobbying the government to benefit our communities or we won't have a community to lobby for."
I think we need to work together to keep lobbying the government to benefit our communities or we won't have a community to lobby for.- Cr Michele Herbert
One of the big issues was buybacks: in August, the Federal Government said water licence buybacks would be an option to meet a Murray Darling Basin Plan target of another 450GL of environmental water.
Those buybacks would affect us all, warned local farmer and chair of Lachlan Valley Water Tom Green.
"With the buybacks: it'll be farmers that they buy the water from for the 450GL we won't get that back, so we need to ensure it's preserved in our own communities especially if our population's going to increase," Cr Herbert said.
Cr Brian Mattiske, who served on the river advisory committee for 25 years, said it was important for people to realise the Lachlan River was a closed river system - and buying back water licences here would not benefit other river systems.
"One of the other things is getting people to realise the Lachlan doesn't flow into the Murrumbidgee: it's a closed river system, it's only in a major flood event that the water will flow," he said.
"The Lachlan finishes in the Great Cumbung Swamp and that's it. "
The raising of the Wyangala Dam wall was a separate matter but it was to increase the full supply level of the water catchment and improve water security in the Lachlan Valley.
In September NSW Minister for Water Rose Jackson said both the project's Final Business Case and an extensive independent review by Infrastructure NSW have recommended not raising the dam wall because it didn't stack up financially or environmentally.
There are redacted or blacked out segments in the final business case for the Wyangala Dam wall raising - as published online - and Cr Herbert asked whether the council could get a full copy of it to consider.
Mayor Phyllis Miller said it had been nearly all read out on a Teams meeting she had been on.
"It's all to do with the environment, don't worry about people, they didn't get a mention," she said.
Councillors backed calls to continue to fight for the raising of the Wyangala wall and to see the full business case on the Wyangala Dam wall.
They also voted to invite Mr Andrew McConville, CEO Murray-Darling Basin Authority, and Cr Claire Miller, CEO of NSW Irrigators, to present to Council.
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