Underutilized Toonumbar Dam for the water supply of the town of Casino – L’Echo

Toonumbar Dam. Photo Ayesha Joy Clifford.

UAE Northern Rivers Alliance has proposed that the Richmond Valley Council engage with the state government in exploring the use of the currently underutilized Toonumbar Dam for the water supply to the town of Casino.

Spokeswoman Nan Nicholson said the Toonumbar Dam, 36 km northwest of Casino, contains 11 GL of water. – That’s three-quarters the volume of the Rocky Creek Dam. The 98 km² Toonumbar watershed is almost three times the size of the 38 km² watershed of the Rocky Creek Dam. It is five times the size of the watershed of the controversial Dunoon Dam proposal.

WaterNSW, in a report in 2018 (20-year study of infrastructure options Rural valleys), says: Lack of use [of Toonumbar dam] resulted in high water levels in the dam year round and a high operational surplus due to the increased frequency of spills. Water NSW considers this to be a significant underutilization of existing assets.

” The 2020 Draft regional water strategy for the Far North agrees “, says Nicholson. ‘This suggests linking the Toonumbar Dam to Casino via a number of connection opportunities to improve the resilience of the city’s water supplies. ‘

Dams are not a quick fix

Nicholson says that while dams are not a quick fix and are not, on their own, a defense against drought, this option should be thoroughly explored before a new dam is launched. “The Toonumbar Dam could provide additional water to Casino fairly quickly and would add resilience and diversity to the supply. It would also help avoid large upfront expenses, destruction of cultural and environmental heritage, and ongoing social division if the Dunoon Dam project went ahead.

“The current water sharing plan for Toonumbar does not include the use of the city’s water. This should be resolved and stakeholders who currently partially use the water should be consulted.

“All groups involved in solving the water crisis in this region agree that All Options on the Table is a good place to start. WaterNSW recognizes that “any successful strategy to improve the situation on the north coast is likely to involve a combination of asset, financial and regulatory improvements, and as such, seeks to explore these options.”

“WATER Northern Rivers invites those concerned about the future of water in this region to be open-minded about all options and to further investigate the underutilized Toonumbar Dam. “

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