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Dams don’t make water, they kill rivers and downstream communities

13th May 2023 

Dams don’t make water, they kill rivers and downstream communities 

The Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales (NCC), the state's leading environmental advocacy organisation, has today criticised the misinformation being spread by members of the northern NSW agricultural elite, and members of federal and state of parliament, in relation to the cancelled Dungowan Dam project. 

“Dungowan Dam would have done nothing to address Tamworth's drinking water issues and would have had a devastating impact on downstream communities”, NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford today. 

“The productivity commission called the dam ‘a case study in flawed decision making’ and NSW Minister for Water Rose Jackson made clear that Infrastructure Australia, Infrastructure NSW, and several other NSW Government agencies have suggested the project not proceed.” Mumford continued.  

“This mentality we see from certain sections of the agricultural industry that the solution to any water issue in inland Australia is to build a massive dam, and if you are downstream then too bad, is outdated and has to stop. 

“Dams don’t make water, they just kill rivers and hurt downstream communities.” 

“In Europe and the United States they are tearing down dams and investing in smart new technologies, including managed aquifer recharge and water purification.” 

Tamworth Regional Council is looking into a water purification plant that would provide thirsty abattoirs with a new water source, freeing up valuable drinking water for the community. 

“The solutions to water scarcity in the Peel catchment are simple. Purifying water for use in local meat works will do more for Tamworth’s future than digging a hole and praying for rain” said Mumford.  

We also need to change the laws to stop overextraction, purchase more water, and invest in regional communities. That way, enough water will flow through the Murray Darling Basin to provide clean drinking water to every town, to rivers that inland Australians can enjoy, and ensure our precious plants and animals don't go extinct.   

Statement ends 

Media contact: Clancy Barnard 

E: [email protected]  Ph: 0438 869 332 

Note: NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford is available for comment on request 

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