Saturday, January 06, 2007

Newcastle, the Lower Hunter & the Tillegra Dam

When I first heard that the NSW Government proposed to build a major dam in the Lower Hunter to meet the water needs of the Lower Hunter and the Central Coast I assumed that Newcastle and the Lower Hunter had a serious water problem, so I took it all on face value.

Today's Sydney Morning Herald carried a story suggesting in fact that the Lower Hunter did not have a problem, that Hunter Water had said previously that the dam was not needed in the immediate future. So now I was curious.

I went to the Hunter Water web site. Here I found that there were no water restrictions, that restrictions did not come into force until water storage reached 60 per cent as compared to a current level of 82.5 per cent. I also found that the main dams were over 90 per cent full.

So why, then, was the dam to be built? Here the site carries the official story. I must say that I found this unconvincing. Yes, the Central Coast has a problem. Why, then, are Hunter consumers being asked to pay a cost? I was left with the uncomfortable conclusion that the announcement was in fact a stunt to take attention away from the Milton Orkopoulos affair.

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