Clarrie Hall Dam is not the only option.
Clarrie Hall Dam is not the only option.

Group wants water options reviewed

TWEED Shire Council is facing new calls to investigate future water supply options including harvesting run-off in stormwater pipes and recycling.

The push comes from the majority of members appointed to the council’s own community working group, who felt three of the four options they were asked to look at were not viable.

It also comes as opponents of one option, a new dam at Byrrill Creek, call on the public to urgently email NSW Water Minister Phillip Costa asking the government to enforce a proposed ban on building any dam there because of the area’s “biodiversity” values.

One member of the committee, Joanna Gardner, said the majority had called for an independent review which would look at alternatives.

She said the request was part of a short formal statement they wanted placed on the front of their 300- page report – but council staff had insisted it be an appendix at the back.

They wanted a review to look at “stormwater harvesting and re-use programs”, as well as reassessing population growth, the impact of strategies to manage water demand and the impact of climate change.

Eight of the 12 committee members signed the request, with four, including the two councillors who took part, Dot Holdom and Phil Youngblutt, declining to support the statement.

“We are concerned that council has already constrained its decision to the four water supply options presented, without establishing adequate community engagement processes or consideration of the impacts on carbon emissions and the loss of the environmental values of the areas that may be destroyed,” the statement said.

“We would like to see the proposed independent review of the demand management strategy evaluate the potential for additional water saving measures such as mandatory rainwater tanks, stormwater harvesting and recycled water before committing to the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam.

“We, and the community, would like to be reassured that TSC’s demand strategy and water options selection process is in line with national and international performance standards, and appropriate to our environment.”

Group members who signed the statement were: Sam Dawson, Tony Thompson, Richard Murray, Joanna Gardner, Colleen Edwards, Rachel Eberhard, Robyn Lemaire and Rob Learmonth.

The four who did not support it were: Don Beck, Pryce Allsop, Dot Holdom and Phil Youngblutt.

Joanna Gardner Council has constrained its decision

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