The Chair of Macquarie Food and Fibre, Tony Quigley spoke on ABC Central West Radio on Monday 11th May about the planned re-regulating weir at Gin Gin.
Tony explains (in his own words) that the giant structure will mean a loss to the environment and communities downstream of Gin Gin of the significant volume of 25 billion litres a year.
“It’s a dribble” says Tony.
According to Tony, any water that flows from the regulated Macquarie into the unregulated river, and on to the Creeks, Ramsar listed Macquarie Marshes, the Lower Macquarie and into the Barwon Darling Rivers is “lost out of the bottom”. Tony says irrigators want the new dam, so the water can be “saved in the system”, in other words used for irrigation.
This figure of 25 billion litres a year is new information to members of Healthy Rivers Dubbo and other community stakeholders, who have engaged with WaterNSW on this project from November 2019.
WaterNSW have been working very hard to assure the community that no tributary flows from the Little, Bell or Talbragar Rivers will be captured by this new dam. They claim that only water orders released from Burrendong dam and then cancelled will be captured. That would mean no more than 6 billion litres a year.
But their own documentation states that they will use some tributary inflows to meet orders. (Page 16 Scoping Report)
Some tributary inflows that enter the Macquarie below Burrendong are considered dam releases by WaterNSW. We don’t know how much, it would be different every year – the information is not public.
The illogical truth that some tributary inflows that do not come from the dam are classed as dam releases, might go some way to explain where Tony understands the 25 billion litres that the irrigators expect the weir to deliver for them will come from.