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  • Rikki Lambert

Raise the dam wall already - McCormack on Wyangala dam

The federal MP for flood affected Riverina communities says the time for talk is over on the long-running debate on raising the wall of Wyangala Dam at the junction of the Lachlan and Abercrombie rivers.

Speaking on Flow on Wednesday, Michael McCormack said it was high time the wall was raised not just for flood mitigation but to support agriculture:

On 12 October, Tom Green chair of Lachlan Valley Water, an irrigators' group, continued the group's push for raising the Wyangala Dam wall, a project that will add 53 per cent more storage.

The construction was announced during the drought in 2019, as a way to improve water security and mitigate flooding. It is in the final stages of planning, as the dam releases 30,000 megalitres per day. Mr Green said:

"We want the government to know we need infrastructure to better deal with climate change and climate variability."
"It's part of the game in farming, but the continual decline of terms of trade are making the risks bigger and the rewards smaller."

Last Wednesday, authorities decreased Wyangala Dam water releases from 45,000 megalitres per day to 30,000 megalitres. A week later, storage levels were at 95.2 per cent. Storage levels sat above 93 per cent since August and were over 100 per cent during August and earlier in October:

When premier Dominic Perrottet - who toured flood impacted Forbes with Mr McCormack on Monday - took office in late 2021, then Nationals water minister Melinda Pavey departed the portfolio indicating the business case for raising Wyangala's Dam wall still needed to be finalised.

Debate over Wyangala Dam was a flashpoint for a split in the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party, with then SFF MP Helen Dalton opposing raising the dam wall but her other parliamentary colleagues backing the McCormack position. Dalton, the state member for Murray, later left the party to become an independent.


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