Australian Prime Minister urges dams to protect flood-prone communities

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Australian State Prime Minister Dominic Perrott has urged the Federal Labor Government to fund the raising of the Wallagamba Dam wall to reduce the risk of flooding to communities downstream of Sydney’s largest dam.

The suggestion is first time Advocated in 2016, some parts of Australia’s most populous New South Wales have received new attention this week after being declared a “natural disaster zone” after storms and floods throughout the state. rice field.

Flood to be influenced Approximately 40,000 people have been evacuated in Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra, and 50 evacuation orders have been issued. To date, more than 2,000 homes have been assessed for damage, of which 239 are uninhabitable and 973 need repair.

Infrastructure division report Following a community review, I was asked to raise the Waragambadam 14 meters. Subsequent reports reported that the flood peaks for the March 2021 event were reduced by 3.5 meters, with floods reduced to smaller flood levels.

The floodplain, where about 140,000 people currently live or work, has already been flooded three times in the last 18 months, generating hundreds of millions of dollars. damage..

The report noted that the project aims to create an “airspace” that exceeds the dam’s current full supply level.

‚ÄúThis delays and reduces the peak and extent of floods in downstream communities and increases the time for evacuation. The risk of life, flood damage and social disruption caused by floods in the valley. It will be mitigated, “the New South Wales state government explained in the submission. ..

According to government plans, the additional storage of the dam will only be used for flood mitigation purposes to maintain the structural integrity of the dam and to minimize the duration and extent of upstream flooding. In the case of a flood, it will take 14 days for the raised dam water to be completely drained.

Raise support

Australian flood
On July 6, 2022, a boat patrols the Hunter River near Hinton, Australia. (State emergency service via AP)

Raising the Waragambadam is important for protecting downstream homes, Perotet said, but the project will be “very expensive” and complicated due to environmental and planning issues.

The Prime Minister of NSW has revealed that the project cannot proceed without federal approval and is urging the federal government to promise a 50-50 split.

Option assessment reports showed that raising 14 meters would cost between A $ 500 million (US $ 342 million) and $ 1 billion, but NSW Labor opposition argued that it exceeded that. that’s all $ 1.6 a billion.

Meanwhile, Mayor Patrick Connolly of the Hawkesbury City Council urged the government on July 7 to get the project on track rather than “trying to keep the protest group happy.”

“Sufficient. They say everything right and are trying to do it, but they continue to think of new ways to delay the project,” Connolly told 9News.

“But to say we are downstream is as important as we have real life, we are real people, and the trees behind the walls of the dam.”

This sentiment was repeated by Minister of West Sydney Stuart Ayers, who is also the Vice Liberal Party leader of the state. “We can’t stop the floods, we can only choose where to slow down the water,” Ayers said.

“We no longer allow development in high-risk flood areas,” Ayers told The Daily Telegraph. “If you raise the wall of the dam, you can’t add a house to it.”

Skepticism remains

Chris Mins, leader of the New South Wales opposition, said the project would bring government bonds to $ 183 billion, arguing that “future generations of taxpayers will have to repay,” and there are concerns about raising the bar. It is increasing.

“The cost of the project has risen from about $ 650 million to over $ 1.6 billion, and the Government of New South Wales has not yet explained why the project has not been funded,” he said. July 8 news..

“We are skeptical about it. We are skeptical about its implementation and it is funded.”

Minds suggested that the government should instead focus on building more evacuation routes and building infrastructure for flood-prone areas such as Hawkesbury and Penlis. ..

“Our real concern is that the government on the eve or shortly after the flood claims that this is the solution to the problem,” Mins said. “They also have plans to double the floodplain population, which we believe can make the terrible situation much worse.”

Mayor of Ulondilly Matt Gould oppose The plan states that raising the dam wall is “not a silver bullet”, and more than 50% of the floods could come from the upper Nepean River and the catchment area substantially downstream of the proposed wall. ..

“None of this water was captured by the Warragamba Dam, and everything flows into the lower Nepean River and Hawkesbury, so even without the effects of water from the Warragamba River, a significant flood along the Hawkesbury-Nepian. Would have faced the Flood, “said Gould on July 8.

Environmental concerns

The proposal was postponed before the recent floods in the face of demands for a more thorough environmental impact assessment of floods that could last up to 14 days in some areas of the proposed catchment area.

Community submissions from environmental advocacy groups show McCawley Perch and the endangered Regent honeyeater, as well as the habitat of temporarily flooded endangered forests and forest communities. Part of the proposed catchment area is also part of the United Nations-approved Blue Mountain World Heritage Site in 2000.Other parts of the Bragolan Valley catchment area have been used for decades for agricultural land and other uses, and then protection As a national park.

Epoch Times Photo
A map showing the Blue Mountains World Heritage area in dark blue and the Sydney Metropolitan Area in pink. (Australia Department of Agriculture)

According to Ayers, temporary flood inundation will affect 0.04 percent of World Heritage Sites. Unfortunately, during the 2019 wildfire Important part Part of the World Heritage area has been affected, making the area even more sensitive to further turmoil.

Other impacts include the inundation of cultural sites of the Gandangarah people.

However, James Jackson, President of NSW Farmers I got it Having a dam has an impact on the environment, but “the absence of a dam also has an impact on the environment.”

“Given the damage caused by these floods, you’re probably already paying for these raised walls,” Jackson told The Daily Telegraph on July 7.

Nina Nguyen

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Nina Nguyen is a Sydney-based reporter. She covers Australian news with a focus on social, cultural and identity issues. She is fluent in Vietnamese. Contact her at [email protected].

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