Forum will discuss water needs

QUESTIONS regarding Tweed's water needs remain high on the list of issues faced by candidates for next month's council elections.

To give constituents the opportunity to find out where various candidates stand on the matter, the Caldera Environment Centre in cooperation with the Northern Rivers Guardians will hold a 'meet the candidates' forum next Saturday.

Caldera Environment Centre spokesperson Sam Dawson said all sitting councillors, the leaders of the 12 groups running and the four independent candidates were invited to address the issue at the forum and although not all candidates had confirmed, he expected most would either be present or be represented by a member of their group.

Water experts Amanda Otto and Craig Zerk will address those present and talk about the way water provisions and savings have been handled in areas such as Pimpama/Coomera and Ballina.

Amanda Otto is coordinator of recycled water for Gold Coast City Council's water department and Graig Zerk is a civil and environmental engineer with 35 years experience in the water industry.

Now retired, Mr Zerk is a founding director of Geolink Consultancy and worked as a water engineer for Ballina Shire Council for seven years.

Mr Dawson said some of Tweed council staff's claims concerning water usage and requirements in the Tweed were wrong and voters should be made aware that there were other options available apart from building a new dam at Byrrill Creek.

The figures reflecting the predicted demand for water as well as the expected population growth in the Tweed were erroneous and future water requirements were therefore less than envisaged.

There were a number of realistic and cost effective alternatives available which should be considered.

"With a number of new developments coming online, we have the opportunity to get it right.

"Councillors will have to try harder" Mr Dawson said.

The forum will take place at the Autumn Club, located next to Murwillumbah's library, on August 18 from 9.30am until 12.30pm.

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