The worst drought in recorded history has reaffirmed what I’ve always thought – that water is one of, if not the most, precious resources on the planet. That’s why I’ve always fought hard for more dams to be built across the nation.
For me as the Member for New England, it’s very satisfying that the push for more water infrastructure hasn’t fallen on deaf ears at both the Commonwealth and State level.
Just this week the NSW Liberal/Nationals Government committed $24 million for further investigations into a dam on the Mole River, west of Tenterfield.
If the Business Case stacks up, the dam would have a storage capacity of between 100 and 200 gigalitres – the size of which will be determined down the track. The dam has the potential to create dozens of jobs during and after construction. When built, it will also allow more water to be collected during floods so that in drier times that precious resource would be more abundantly available.
For agriculture, the benefits would be enormous. More water, and a more reliable supply, enables sustained on-farm productivity and, potentially, would increase agricultural production, helping to secure existing jobs and create new opportunities. A new dam could also improve security of town water supplies, provide flood mitigation, and also support the downstream Barwon-Darling system through increased flow reliability and associated environmental health outcomes.
The $24 million dollars allocated for the Mole River dam comes on top of almost half a billion dollars to build the Dungowan Dam, near Tamworth. Wealth from irrigation flows back into the towns and broadens the economic base of the district.
When I returned home to New England, I made it my first task to complete the stalled expansion of Chaffey Dam. If we hadn’t achieved that, Tamworth would have now run out of water.
I’ve also gone into bat for the $28 million Quipolly Water Project which will guarantee the future water supply of townships in the Liverpool Plains including Werris Creek, Willow Tree and Quirindi.
Almost a million dollars of Federal Government money will also be spent to undertake a $2.2 million study on pumped hydro energy storage at Oven Mountain, near Armidale.
I promised more water infrastructure in the New England Electorate and I’m all about delivering.