Council damns 'risky' report

TWEED Shire Council has adopted a 21-step plan for the management of Tweed’s water supply, but believes the Byrrill Creek dam remains necessary to adequately supply the shire with water in the future.

A demand management strategy, compiled by environmental management consultant GeoLINK, will be presented at the next council meeting in March. It is a three-year plan including residential rebates, a dual reticulation system, water billing, water-efficient garden policies and 10,000-litre rain- water tanks that could make the dam unnecessary.

However council director of community and natural resources, David Oxenham, said the approach taken by GeoLINK was “risky” and “a dam would still be needed”.

“Council has adopted a safer approach by commencing the studies and approval process for a new water source now rather than waiting until it is too late,” he said.

Adopting the GeoLINK strategy would just delay the need for an additional water source. “The success of the demand management strategy will delay the timing of the additional water source, however it will not eliminate it,” Mr Oxenham said.

“GeoLINK also supports the use of 10,000-litre rainwater tanks to negate the need for an additional dam.

“Studies have shown that in a long drought the tanks would run dry well before the end of a drought, and a dam would still be needed when this happens.”

Mr Oxenham also said the report featured a number of inaccuracies and was only a “brief assessment” which had been “hastily researched”.

“Understandably, such a brief report is not a comprehensive review of a planning process that has been ongoing for at least the past four years, involving detailed analysis of options and collaboration with stakeholders.”

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