Flooding in the Lachlan is a complex issue that needs broader consideration than the simplistic call for a bigger, very costly dam according to the Wyangala Counterpoint Group.
The Hovells Creek Landcare Group is concerned about the massive sand slug moving down the Lachlan between Wyangala and Forbes causing the river to flood low-lying areas at lower flow heights. This problem will increase if more flushing flows are captured in a larger Wyangala Dam. There needs to be a study of this problem and its impact on flooding and the riverine environment, including the fish habitat, before it gets worse.
John Webster, landholder in the proposed inundation area said: 'Prime agricultural land in the upper catchment will be permanently damaged if the dam wall is raised. 80 roads and property access will be impacted and a large length of healthy river and riparian areas destroyed. We are still waiting to see the modelled extent of the inundation impacts.'
Bev Smiles, President of Inland Rivers Network said: 'These minor flood flow events in early Spring are very important for threatened native fish in the Lachlan, priming the system for breeding opportunities. The flows help to fill mid-Lachlan wetlands, like Lake Cargelligo, and set them up for waterbird breeding and future drought refuge.'
'Flood flows are also very important in the Lachlan Valley to recharge groundwater systems. The irrigation industry and many towns, including some outside the valley, rely heavily on Lachlan groundwater supply.'
Gordon Turner, Lachlan Floodplains and Wetlands Association said: 'The Lachlan floodplains and wetlands are still in recovery mode from the last severe drought. While water is starting to spread through the effluent creeks and across the floodplain, there is a long way to go before the ecosystem can bounce back.'
'If a farmer plants a crop or places some infrastructure in or on a flood way it should be at that individual's own risk. It is not fair to pass the risk of loss of crop onto the taxpayer.'
Wyangala Counterpoint Group supports the Lachlan Valley Water call for the business case to be released, in the spirit of the promised NSW Government transparency in water management. All assumptions and costs-benefits analysis provided to decision-makers must be available to the community who will be paying for the project.