Authority orders dam upgrade

CENTRAL Tablelands Water (CTW) could be forced to foot a $4 million bill to flood-proof Lake Rowlands after a state government scheme was ended, but its ratepayers in 14 towns and villages across the central west won’t be slogged with the extra costs.

The state government is refusing to take any more applications for the Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Program (CTWSSP) before the scheme wraps up in 2017.

The NSW Dam Safety Committee has ordered for Lake Rowlands to be upgraded to withstand a one in 100,000 year flood.

While CTW are still preparing a report to finalise the price, work is expected to cost between $2 million and $4 million.

General manager Tony Perry said CTW will have to push back its $56 million 30-year capital works program if they are forced to fork out for the Lake Rowlands upgrade, but rates won’t be affected.

“It’s frustrating because the actual dam work qualifies for the subsidy but that’s ended because there’s no more money,” he said.

“It’s a setback that’s quite significant.”

The delayed capital works will not affect property connections but will see major trunk main upgrades around Blayney, Cabonne and Weddin put off.

Currently the dam is built to withstand a one in 30,000 year flood, which Mr Perry believes lessens the urgency of the upgrade required by the Dam Safety Committee.

“They’ve moved the goal posts to one in 100,000 years so we have to do remedial work,” he said.

“The Dam Safety Committee dictate what we need to do and we don’t have any say in it.”

The department has told CTW the required upgrades could be put off if CTW can prove that a dam will be built downstream within 10 years, but Mr Perry believes a new dam will be years away.

He hopes the department will agree to put off flood-proofing upgrades until the state government scheme starts up again.

Mr Perry says the problem reignites the urgency for Centroc’s proposal for a new dam, funded with contributions from the state and federal government.

The flood-proofing upgrades will not increase the capacity of the dam but will either involve the raising of the earthen wall or widening of the concrete spillway.

clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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