A new dam is being planned on the Wambuul Macquarie River, 200 metres downstream of the current weir at Gin Gin, between Narromine and Warren.
John Laws became interested in the project after Mel from Healthy Rivers Dubbo called him on Monday 20/7/20 to have a chat about it.
Dugald Saunders, member for Dubbo got on the next day and announced that the new dam would only be 1 metre higher than the the current weir at Gin Gin.
The current weir at Gin Gin is now about 4 to 5 metres high. It was a lot higher once, about 10 metres or so, before floodwaters had their way and trimmed it down.
From the start, plans for the new dam are for a 14 metre high structure, with 10 metre high gates, capable of holding back 9,000 Megalitres of water.
WaterNSW have been saying that they will reduce the size of the structure following concerns raised by stakeholders about the significant impact the project would have on Native Fish and the Ramsar listed Macquarie Marshes downstream. They have talked about a structure with 3 stages of 5 metre high gates, capable of holding back 6,000 Megalitres.
However, in the official document (bottom of the first page) signed by WaterNSW on the 28th May 2020 that will inform the environmental impact statement, the project is described such:
Mel understood that while WaterNSW were saying they would reduce the height of the gates, the official documentation had not changed, so called John Laws back with serious concerns that the Member for Dubbo didn’t understand the scale of the project.
To finalise the question about the height of the new dam, Dugald wrote to John Laws and on Thursday 23/7 the following was read out on air..
The key sentence is “the full supply level of the new structure will be approximately one metre higher than the storage at Gin Gin weir prior to it’s failure.”
Prior to it’s failure the weir was about 10 metres high or so.
In a round about political-speak way, Dugald Saunders has confirmed that as Mel and the official documents referenced above said, the new dam will have gates 10 metres high (while at the same time he appears to win the debate like any good politician would).
WaterNSW cannot be trusted.
For reference, 14 metres is almost as high as a 5 story building.