Coalition of experts condemn dam plan

Coalition of experts condemn dam plan

A letter has been sent to the NSW Premier by over 20 prominent scientists, park managers and former environment ministers condemning legislation to allow dam inundation of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

Signatories include former Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett, UNSW ecologist Professor Richard Kingsford, businessman and environmentalist Geoff Cousins and former NSW Environment Minister Bob Debus.

The letter calls on the NSW Government to abandon their Water NSW Amendment (Warragamba Dam) Bill 2018 that is currently before the NSW Parliament. The Government legislation would amend the National Parks and Wildlife Services Act 1974, which currently prohibits dam inundation of NSW national parks. Associate Professor Professor Jamie Pittock of the Australian National University said: “The NSW Government’s strategy for managing flood risk in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley is predicated on allowing more people to move into harm’s way. The assessment of flood control favours raising the Warragamba Dam wall by ignoring its environmental and social impact, and the benefits of any non-flood control alternatives.

“Management of the existing storage of Warragamba Dam, improvements to flood evacuation routes, increased flood forecasting capacity and adopting international best practice floodplain development controls are all alternatives to raising the dam

Harry Burkitt, Campaign Manager at the Colong Foundation said​: “Support from the scientific community and general public has grown dramatically over the last fortnight. Ecologists, hydrologists, archeologists, economists, urban planners and former park managers are contacting the campaign to voice their outrage about the proposal on a daily basis now.

“Raising Warragamba Dam wall would push several Australian threatened species towards extinction. The world heritage listed river valleys under threat protect 50% of the habitat for the most threatened woodland fauna species of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. There are 65 kilometres of wilderness streams within the world heritage area that would be drowned by the raised dam.

The full letter can be found here.