Again, NO Byrrill Creek Dam

Dear Friends of the Environment.

The NSW Natural Resources Commission (NRC) is undertaking a Review, including submissions from the public, of the existing Tweed Water Sharing Plan (WSP) which expires next year. Currently there is a Clause 48 (1) that prohibits the building of a dam at Byrrill Creek.

10 years ago Save Byrrill Creek fought a long campaign to have this prohibition upheld, especially when councillors chose Byrrill Creek Dam as their primary Water Augmentation. Luckily, with a new more environmentally aware Council elected, in Oct 2011 this was rescinded, and in May 2012 the Council placed a 20-year Moratorium on any dam proposal at Byrrill Creek. Some Councillors to this day still want to dam Byrrill Creek.

There are also other important environmental issues in the Water Sharing Plan that could be covered.

It is vital to keep the prohibition within the New Tweed Water Sharing Plan, so we need lots of people to write a submission to the NRC (by 5 July) and also to Council. Council are also making a submission and are holding an extraordinary meeting on the 2nd July to discuss this.

You can send a copy of your NRC Submission to the Council but it must be there by 30th June prior to their meeting.

Below are some points you can choose to use to address in your submission. Please write in your own words if possible and include your name, email etc

Thank you for your timely action on this! 

Send your submission to:
1. The Natural Resource Commissionnrc@nrc.nsw.gov.au
More Info available on https://www.nrc.nsw.gov.au/2019-2020-wsp-reviews
2. The General Manager, Tweed Shire Council tsc@tweed.nsw.gov.au
and all Councillors particularly targeting: Warren Polglase, Pryce Allsop, and  James Owen, whose recent vote did not support retaining the prohibition of Byrrill Creek Dam within the Plan:
pallsop@tweed.nsw.gov.au,
jowen@tweed.nsw.gov.au
wpolglase@tweed.nsw.gov.au
kmilne@tweed.nsw.gov.au
rbyrnes@tweed.nsw.gov.au
ccherry@tweed.nsw.gov.au
rcooper@tweed.nsw.gov.au

Topic: Water Sharing Plan: Tweed River Area Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sources 2010

Dear Sir /Madam

I would like to make the below comments on the above Water Sharing Plan in relationship to the following points
To what extent do you feel the plan has contributed to environmental outcomes?
What changes do you feel are needed to the water sharing plan to improve outcomes?

Clause 48(1)Byrrill Creek dam
The current prohibition of a Dam within Byrrill Creek Water Source has been a positive environmental outcome and I recommend this prohibition remains within the Water Sharing Plan.
It has helped preserve the Byrrill Creek catchment areas with its high riparian conservation status, numerous threatened species, Aboriginal cultural heritage sites, and the wildlife & climate change corridor linking Mt Warning & Mebbin National Parks.
It is to be noted that Tweed Council has already adopted raising Clarrie Hall Dam wall as the preferred option for water augmentation & also has a 20 year moratorium that bans any dam proposal at Byrrill Creek until 16 May 2032.
I support the Tweed Council statement at its meeting of 18 June 2020 that resolved:
2. Council maintains its long standing and scientific based opposition to the building of a dam at Byrrill Creek.

Environmental Water Flows
Tweed Shire’s river systems flow through and support an internationally significant, highly biodiverse environment.  I do not support reducing environmental flows on any stream or river, during low flows and drought. Environmental flows are a critical and positive outcome of the current water sharing plan.

1. From Clarrie Hall Dam
Environmental Water flow releases from Clarrie Hall Dam to feed Doon Doon Creek & the Tweed River should remain. It proved to be an important aquatic refuge during the recent drought, when the majority of all creeks & the upper reaches of the South arm of the Tweed River ran dry. .
2. Fish Ladder Flows at Bray Park Weir
The Environmental flow releases for the Fish Ladder at Bray Park Weir should also remain to allow migration of native fish upstream.
3. Clause 43. Access rules for the taking of surface water
As the Tweed Council relies on flow releases from the Dam for the urban Tweed Water Supply, I would suggest that there be a reduced access/cease to pump to water from the river to properties with self regulated water licences drawing from the Tweed River during drought times. These irrigators need to be utilising best practise water efficiency measures, and accountable & monitored metered use of water extracted, if not a cease pump restriction, during drought times and extremely low flows.
4. Environmental Flows, Drought and Water Extraction Facilities
Like wise these above restrictions, ie reduced access/cease to pump, should also apply to all five water extraction & water bottling plants within Tweed Shire who are taking water from aquifers, when there are low flows in nearby creeks & rivers or during droughts.

Water Licences
There is a lack of scientific data of both above ground and groundwater sources in the Tweed which means the current Water Sharing Plan is ineffective in making any future decisions on water licensing.
This needs to be remedied (and funded) as soon as possible, and climate change particularly needs to be taken into account.
Lack of compliance by many of water users in the Tweed is inadequate to effectively manage and put the Water Sharing Plan into operation. The self regulating of water licenses is open to abuse and has proved not accountable within the Water Sharing Plan or regulatory bodies.

Climate Change
A Water Sharing plan has to address Climate Change more effectively. The Tweed has experienced its worst flooding event during Cyclone Debbie, March 2017, and its worst drought in 2019, and also the overtopping of the Bray Park Weir with salt water inundation. These occurrences are predicted to become more extreme.
Clause 14 of the existing WSP has provisions to manage the sharing of water based on long-term averages, however it needs to reflect these changes, particularly low flows.
During the 2019 drought the water supply to Tyalgum village was severely affected, with no flows into the weir and high pollution levels. Council did not have sufficient water for the village supplies & water was trucked in. An increased allocation, depending on river health is suggested.

Yours Sincerely,
Name
Address
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