DUBBO’S deputy mayor has accused Orange City Council of wanting to take the “lion’s share” of water with the proposed Macquarie River pipeline leaving surrounding towns dry.
Cr Richard Mutton’s comments come following a decision by Dubbo council to set aside $500,000 to buy high security licences if needed during drought.
“We’ve got $500,000 to buy these water licences and it looks like we might need to if Orange sucks us dry,” Mutton told the Central Western Daily.
“I’m not terribly happy with Orange at the moment.”
Cr Mutton slammed the Macquarie Pipeline project.
“Quite frankly the river is the supply for Burrendong Dam,” he said.
“If Orange go through with the deal how much water will be left for Dubbo, Narromine, Warren and other places down the river?”
Orange mayor John Davis hit back, saying he was surprised by Cr Mutton’s “unfounded” comments.
“The facts are less than half a per cent of the flow of the Macquarie would be taken when we water harvest,” he said.
“It’s certainly a very small amount and on the western side of Burrendong Dam between Burrendong and Dubbo I imagine it would be even more minimal because of the huge volume of water from Mudgee.”
While Cr Mutton admitted he did not know how much water the proposed pipeline was expected to take, he said information he had indicated the council wanted the “lion’s share”.
“I know [Orange Council] have got the money but there needs to be some sort of compromise with the users of the upper reaches of the river,” he said.
“I’ve seen Burrendong Dam empty twice. It would seem at this stage it might make Burrendong empty quicker.”
He said he would ask Dubbo mayor Matthew Dickerson to approach Orange Council to find out how far down the track the council were with the planned pipeline.
“We’ve got to get it right for everyone,” he said.
“When it comes to water you’ve got to be a bit circumspect.”
Cr Davis said he welcomed the chance to meet with Dubbo Council.
“It’s absolutely great. It gives us the opportunity to put the true facts out there,” he said.
Council spokesman Nick Redmond said the impact of the pipeline on Burrendong Dam almost couldn’t be measured.
“We’ve already retained licences in Macquarie for more water than we ever intend to take,” he said.
He said Orange had water licences for the river entitling the city to 7,800 megalitres, with an option to purchase an additional licence for 650 megalitres.