An independent review of the river flow impact of the controversial Tillegra Dam has found it will jeopardise the health of the Williams River and internationally-recognised bird breeding areas of the Kooragang Wetlands in the Hunter region, according to the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
The draft report on modelling commissioned by the NSW Department of Planning finds the combined burden of current water infrastructure and the proposed Tillegra Dam would reduce vital water flows to the estuary by about 43 per cent. This finding is consistent with a report by leading wetlands expert Richard Kingsford released earlier this year, and contradicts the Keneally government’s claims that the dam would reduce river flow by less than one per cent.
“The Tillegra Dam proposal will hold back essential river flows with disastrous impacts on the 38 species of migratory birds and numerous local plants and animals dependent on the estuary,” Nature Conservation Council of NSW Chief Executive Officer, Pepe Clarke, said today.
“The future of one of NSW’s most significant bird-breeding areas will be at risk if Hunter Water and the State government continue to ignore the flood of recent reports on the devastating environment impact of this proposal. The ongoing survival of species along the Williams River must not be gambled on flawed modelling and incomplete data.
“The Keneally government is asking the Hunter community to swallow damage to one of NSW’s most significant bird-breeding wetlands despite the existence of more environmentally and economically sound alternatives for securing the area’s water supply.
“The Government and Hunter Water should take this opportunity to act on community and scientific concerns and dump plans for Tillegra Dam,” he said.