Update: August 9
A media release from Russell Holden has notified that Windamere Dam water users will be staging a protest over potential changes in water levels at the dam on Saturday, August 11 at the boat ramp at Windamere Caravan Park at 3pm.
The release cites concerns that the current plan to complete bulk water transfers by WaterNSW – which are permissible under the current water sharing agreement – would leave the current boat ramp at Cudgegong Waters park “high and dry” with some considering the water level to be a danger to skiers and water sports.
The Mudgee Guardian has contacted WaterNSW for comment.
A Facebook group called ‘Hands Off Our Water’ has been created and is quickly gaining traction online as a place for people to discuss the dam issue and call for a change in the water sharing agreement that would result in drastically lowered water levels at Windamere Dam.
Mid-Western Regional Council passed a motion to engage an independent consultant to provide a peer review of the modelling provided by WaterNSW on Windamere Dam.
Under the current scheme, Windamere Dam is set to lose water to Burrendong in November 2018 with the scheduled transfer drawing it down to 70 gigalitres which is 19 percent.
“That plan has caused huge concerns throughout the water community,” said Cr Russell Holden.
“For this council to make informed decisions on behalf of the community regarding the water in Windamere dam and whether or not there should be bulk water transfers or whether we should support them, we need accurate information.
“That’s what this motion seeks.”
Councillor Peter Shelley supported Holden, suggesting people from outside the region who want to transfer water from the dam are taking what isn’t theirs.
“People not within our region want to take the water from our region,” Cr Shelley said.
“As far as I’m concerned they’re stealing water.
“This will drop the level of Windamere Dam – which is our dam – down to 19% and with evaporation it will go down further.
“It will take the water level below the boat ramp at the Windamere Dam caravan park. That’s a massive recreation area for our region. It brings a lot of tourism, it’s a good business and it needs to be protected.
“These transfers won’t help us whatsoever.”
While the transfers aren’t breaking any laws, a revision of the legislation is necessary if the transfers are to be discontinued.