16 October 2019

Funding for new Eurobodalla dam as water restrictions start

| Ian Campbell
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Aerial view of the Tuross Water Pumping Station. Level 1 water restrictions are in effect across the shire from October 14. Photo: Supplied.

Aerial view of the Tuross Water Pumping Station. Level 1 water restrictions are in effect across the shire from October 14. Photo: Supplied.

With a summer of water restrictions starting this week in the Eurobodalla comes welcome funding from the NSW Government for a big new water storage in the shire.

Member for Bega Andrew Constance has announced $26.3 million for the design and construction of the Eurobodalla Southern Water Storage, west of Bodalla on the banks of the Tuross River.

“The Eurobodalla Southern Storage project will provide long term water security for the region once built, which will add 3,000 Megalitres of water storage to the Eurobodalla region,” Mr Constance says.

Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes says the investment is welcome news.

“This funding is just so critical to the future water security and economic growth of the Eurobodalla. The new storage also means improved environmental outcomes for the Tuross River and better support for our farmers who also rely on the river.”

The total cost of the project is $105 million, with council hoping the Commonwealth Government will fund 50 per cent of the cost. Council to fund the balance.

There is a level of confidence around securing all the funding needed with council advancing the long talked about project on the back of the State funding.

Land purchases and clearing can now take place as can construction of a new Tuross River pump station, which will transfer water from the river to the new storage facility, with construction of the storage facility itself to follow.

“We will commence immediately with the first two components, and hope to be advertising tenders for the pump station construction in the next couple of months,” says Council’s Director of Infrastructure Warren Sharpe.

“Which would have us commencing construction of the pump station early-mid 2020.

“The tendering process for the construction of the storage is likely to take approximately nine months. This will commence in early 2020 such that we are ready for construction commencement in early 2021.”

The storage facility will be a 370 metre long embankment and will be 39 metres high with a crest width of 20 metres, located on an unnamed tributary of the Tuross River.

A spillway to allow the storage facility to safely pass excess water from heavy rainfall events into the catchment.

Council says a number of potential environmental impacts have been avoided or reduced during the development of the concept design.

The proposed Eurobodalla Southern Water Storage, west of Bodalla on the banks of the Tuross River. Photo: Supplied.

The proposed Eurobodalla Southern Water Storage, west of Bodalla on the banks of the Tuross River. Photo: Supplied.

” [The Environmental Impact Statement] finds the adverse impacts of the proposal would be outweighed by the longer-term environmental benefits. On balance, the proposal is considered justified and the EIS makes the following conclusions,” Mr Sharpe says.

The findings of the EIS, completed in September 2018:

  • The proposal will not have a significant impact on threatened species, populations or ecological communities or their habitats;
  • The proposal will not have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance or on the environment of Commonwealth land.

The news comes as Eurobodalla Shire Council introduces Level 1 water restrictions, with Deep Creek Dam, south of Batemans Bay at 75% capacity.

Mr Sharpe says the restrictions will help ensure the security of the shire’s drinking water supply over a dry summer.

“Acting now means we can sustain our potable water supplies to residents. We’ll continue to provide residents and visitors with updates on the restriction level and plenty of information about what can and can’t be done under each level of restriction.”

Asked by Region Media what difference the Southern Water Storage might have made to the current situation if it was online now, Mr Sharpe says, “If the storage was built and full of water, there would be no need for water restrictions. However, Council’s permanent water conservation measures would continue, along with Council’s strong commitment to encourage residents to use water wisely.”

Level 1 restrictions allow only one hand-held hose per property or one drip-irrigation system, used between 5 pm and 10 am, per household.

The following actions are not permitted under level 1 restrictions:

  • Fixed sprinklers, micro-spray systems and unattended hose;
  • Washing down hard surfaces including decks, patios, driveways;
  • Washing all watercraft, trailers or vehicles at boat ramps;
  • Cars, boats and bikes can be washed at residences on grass areas using buckets and a final rinse with a trigger nozzle hose between the hours of 5 pm and 10 am;
  • Boat motors are to be flushed on grass;
  • Existing and new swimming pools and external spas can be topped up using a hand-held hose between 5 pm and 10 am. Cover when not in use;
  • Commercial businesses should check Council’s website to ensure their business water practices are in line with the current restrictions;
  • There are no restrictions for emergency services.

Mr Sharpe says there is no need for people to be alarmed.

“To keep people informed, we’ll be posting the current and previous week’s water storage and usage amounts on Council’s website and in the weekly Noticeboard, in print and online. We’ll also be distributing plenty of printed information explaining the restrictions.”

For more information, including current water storage and usage levels, Council’s Water Restrictions Policy, and the five water restriction levels, plus hints and tips for saving water phone 1800 441 070 or visit Council’s website.

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Jeff de Jager2:19 pm 17 Oct 19

Progress on securing log-term water supply is most welcome but there seems to be funding shortfall.If the total project is worth $105 million, it is hoped the commonwealth government will go halves and the state has already pledged to kick in a quarter at $26 million, leaving $26 million for “Council to fund the balance” the mayor is quoted to have said. How will council do that I wonder.

Whenever water is redirected from a river system that is already stressed by limited rainfall there are short and long term impacts on the wildlife of the region. There is no such thing as ‘unlimited supply’ when it comes to water in Australia.. that is a veiled way of saying ‘making sure humans benefit from any water available’. It is another huge step towards environmental extinction and population explosion by humans.. oh wait, they called it ‘economic growth’.

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