Turnbull?s dam plan floods private land


DOZENS of Tweed Valley properties between Murwillumbah and Tyalgum would be flooded under one of the Federal Government's options to pipe water to Queensland.

Affected landowners and residents in the village of Tyalgum are not impressed.

Studies yesterday of the "fine print" of Federal Water Minister Malcolm Turnbull's proposals for pumping water to Queensland revealed the Oxley River, a tributary of the Tweed, is favoured as the site of any dam on the Tweed.

That is despite Tweed Shire Council having already acquired most of an alternative dam site at Byrill Creek west of Mt Warning in the 1990s.

Yesterday long-time Tyalgum resident Bruce Bartrim was aghast.

"That was put on the backburner when they purchased land at Byrill Creek," Mr Bartrim said.

"They reckoned the water would back up to Tyalgum itself.

"To dam it here and take that land away from NSW for water for Queensland, that's not really cricket.

"It's all privately owned."

The National Water Commission's report into options for piping NSW water to Queensland favours a new dam at Rocky Cutting on the Oxley River.

However, Tweed Shire Council bought most of the land for a future Byrill Creek dam in the 1990s after dismissing the Rocky Cutting option.

The Water Commission's report proposes that Rocky Cutting be used to collect 20,000 megalitres of water annually, which would be piped over the McPherson Ranges west of Tweed Heads to the Nerang River.

It would reduce the flow into the Bray Park Weir, which supplies Tweed's water and is topped up when necessary by the release into the lower arm of Tweed River from the Clarrie Hall Dam.

Yesterday Tweed Shire Council's water manager David Oxenham said a Rocky Cutting dam would flood mostly private land back to the village of Tyalgum, "but Tyalgum wouldn't necessarily be inundated".

The Murwillumbah-Tyalgum Road would be blocked and alternative access to the village would have to be provided.

"It's really just a desktop study, a broadbrush type of thing," Mr Oxenham added.

He said the option of a Rocky Creek dam had been studied along with a dam at Byrill Creek before the Clarrie Hall Dam, completed in 1982, was settled on.

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