Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders has urged NSW Water Minister Rose Jackson to support two important water security projects identified as part of the Macquarie-Castlereagh Regional Water Strategy.
Mr Saunders said the development of Ulmarrah Dam at Dixons Long Point has enormous potential, as does a plan to use some of the flood mitigation storage in Burrendong Dam for water supply.
“I’ve spoken a number of times to the Alliance of Western Councils about increasing the usable water supply capacity at Burrendong Dam from the current 100 per cent up to 120 per cent,” Mr Saunders said.
“Burrendong has significant flood mitigation capacity and the move would utilise that, while putting more usable water into the system.
“The reality is we’ve already seen the dam operating at that level for almost all of 2022, and that needs to be recognised by the Minister as we look to make positive changes for the future.”
The opportunity for a dam at Dixons Long Point has also been identified in the strategy.
“There have been suggestions for a road upgrade at the site but I believe it is best suited for a small dam,” Mr Saunders said.
“The analysis outlined in the final strategy suggests a dam of 20-30GL would work to provide water security for Orange and surrounding communities that came extremely close to running out of water in the last drought.
“Given the pump site for the pipeline from the Macquarie River to Orange is adjacent to the potential site of the Ulmarrah Dam, it makes perfect sense.”
“This dam has the potential to provide certainty in the region and help build resilience for the future, so it needs to be given serious consideration.”
Mid-Western Regional Council general manager Brad Cam said it is encouraging to see the idea of the dam hasn’t been ruled out, despite the potential cost.
“Improved water security is the number one issue for most councils in the Macquarie Valley, and the Ulmarrah Dam project is one we would wholeheartedly support to address some of the concerns we’ve heard from across the region,” Mr Cam said.
“We’ve worked with our neighbouring councils, including Orange City Council, to identify projects like this that are beneficial on a regional level, and while there would be a cost to government I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to rule out a project that could be vitally important in the event of extreme drought.”