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Williams Valley

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The need to dam a highly productive river is yet to be proven...

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Tillegra sweeteners leave bitter taste

Mar 17th, 2010 by admin | 0

Tillegra Dam – Hunter Watergate

Media release: 13 March 2010

Sally Corbett, spokesperson for the No Tillegra Dam Group said:

Hunter Water’s feeble offset package for the proposed Tillegra Dam, announced on Saturday 13 March, contains nothing new. The measures announced, such as a possible national park and changed water releases, are simply normal legal and administrative obligations when you’re applying to build infrastructure of this magnitude.  The NTDG completely rejects these measures: they do not supply any justification for the proposed Tillegra Dam.

HWC must think the Hunter community very gullible to believe that dressing up these measures as some sort of sweetener, will make the Tillegra Dam proposal acceptable.

Kevin Young, Managing Director of HWC appears very confused over climate change. He will not use current regionally specific climate change data, because it blows apart one of his key drivers for Tillegra Dam.

Sweetener 1 debunked – A 1323 hectare national park

More than 80% of the proposed National Park area is already protected as the catchment area of the Chichester Dam. The area is all relatively young regrowth forest with some major lantana infestation. There are a thousand places in NSW far more worthy of National Park status.

Sweetener 2 debunked – the release of 2.5 billion litres of water in the Williams River each year to improve its flow

HWC would be robbing the Williams River of 60 billion litres each year.  It is now saying that reducing this by 2.5 billion litres will improve its flow, this is hardly credible.

The NSW Office of Water (NOW) were scathing in their criticism of HWC’s modeling on the Hunter Estuary and have embarked on their own study to determine what will happen to the estuary if a large body of water is taken out.  This study needs to be completed and more studies need to be undertaken to determine exactly what impacts the dam will have on the estuary as well as the Ramsar wetlands.

Sweetener 3 debunked – modification to Seaham Weir

The call for papers revealed in December 2009, that government agencies had warned HWC that if Tillegra Dam was to be built Seaham Weir should be upgraded, and this should be incorporated into the Tillegra Dam costings.

We believe that ratepayers will now be paying for Tillegra Dam as well as an upgrade to Seaham Weir.  HWC have avoided including this cost in the dam’s budget as it would make Tillegra Dam more expensive.

Sweetener 4 -$1 million for road and bridge work in Dungog Shire

Dungog Shire currently has a backlog of $21 million of roadworks required in the Shire.  HWC’s donation of $1 million may keep the pothole brigade in work for a few months.

Sweetener 5 – HWC to undertake all road maintenance between Dungog and the dam site during its construction

Is Kevin Young for real? Many large, heavy vehicles would come from Raymond Terrace and beyond, so the impacts on roads will not commence at the edge of town. Dungog to the dam site is 13kms, Raymond Terrace to Dungog is 60kms.

Sweetener 6 -The relocation of the Bendolba Rural Fire station to a site requested by the Rural Fire Service

See p42 EAR – this was already decided. How is this new? Why would Kevin Young mention this minute detail in the media when it was already decided?


HWC continually downplays the potential destructive impacts of Tillegra Dam. It cannot prove that there will be no significant, long term effects on the Hunter estuary and the Ramsar listed wetlands. Nor has it assessed the true socio-economic impacts. Without an assessment of these impacts, the proposal should not proceed.

“Now on this rainy weekend, at the end of what was predicted to be a ‘long hot summer’ with Chichester Dam 100% full, is the time to can the dam,” Ms Corbett said.


For more information: Sally Corbett 0403 892 093.

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