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GIVE A DAM

Australia’s natural and cultural heritage needs our protection

Raising the Warragamba Dam wall is a developer-driven proposal that will destroy 65 kilometres of wilderness rivers and inundate 4,700 hectares of the world heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park. GIVE A DAM is the grassroots community campaign to stop the destruction of the Blue Mountains national park from the raising of Warragamba Dam wall.

THE TIME IS NOW

Stand with us

We know the majority of Australians don't want to see their world heritage sites ruined for the sake of short-term developer interest.

Thanks to the efforts of the campaign so far, we now have a NSW Government who have committed to opposing the dam wall raising.

We now need to ensure its proposal is completely obliterated, not just locked in a drawer to be revisited the next time we have a change in Government.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Get the facts fast

Has the campaign to stop the raising of Warragamba Dam been won?

Not quite yet. After the NSW election result in March 2023 it's true there is now little doubt: the dam raising with not go ahead in this term of government. However, there is still work to be done to close off the Dam proposal for good and ensure it's not resurrected as soon as there is a change of Government.

No. While Warragamba Dam is only used for drinking water supply at present, the proposal is that an additional 14 metres be added to the dam wall to capture flood waters during high rainfall events. During high rainfall events, it is proposed the additional 14 metres of airspace in the dam hold back floodwaters for five weeks at a time. After a flood event, the dam would be slowly emptied to bring the dam level back to its 'full drinking supply storage level'.

The proposal to raise its wall would increase the dam’s capacity by fifty per cent, placing 65 kilometres of wilderness streams and rivers within the World Heritage site under direct threat from dam water inundation. Australian Government documents obtained through a freedom of information request have said of the dam proposal:

“The impact of increased flood water levels within the dam is likely to have extensive and significant impacts on listed threatened species and communities and world and national heritage values of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.”

Housing developers. While the dam wall raising was proposed in 2016 by the Baird (NSW Liberal) Government, it is land developers on the Hawkesbury-Nepean floodplain who seek to benefit for the dam wall raising. The NSW Government has itself stated that it plans to allow developers to place and additional 134,000 people on the floodplain once the dam wall is raised - doubling the existing floodplain population.

Both Federal and State Governments need to give their approval for the dam to be raised. The Federal government has discretionary power over the proposal as it will breach the World Heritage Operational Guidelines.

The environmental impact statement for the proposal is yet to be release, with both federal and state approvals likely not being decided upon until early 2020.

Respected academic authorities have identified alternative flood mitigation measures for existing communities that do not require raising the dam wall. These alternatives including international best practice floodplain development controls, flood evacuation routes, property repurchase schemes, construction of downstream flood diversion structures, and integrated dam management and climate forecasting. You can read more about the alternatives to raising Warragamba Dam wall in a report compiled by Associate Professor Jamie Pittock here.

The NSW Liberal Government are the proponents of the dam wall raising. The NSW Labor Party and the NSW Greens have been vocal in their opposition to the proposal, voting against the Water NSW Amendment (2018) Bill that was passed by the NSW Parliament to allow the flooding of national parks resulting from the dam wall raising. NSW Labor Shadow Water Spokesperson, Chris Minns, has said the dam wall raising would not proceed if NSW Labor were elected to government. Neither major parties at a federal level have stated a position on the proposal.

Yes. There is a very real threat that raising the Warragamba Dam wall may result in the de-listing of the Greater Blue Mountains from the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is because it will impact upon the values for which the park was listed. The Australia International Council on Monuments and Sites, an Australian Committee for the body which advises UNESCO, has warned of the potential for the Blue Mountains to be placed on the World Heritage in Danger List if the dam raising were to proceed.

Yes. In 1992 the NSW Liberal government led by John Fahey proposed a 23m increase to the Warragamba Dam wall. After a business case was developed by NSW Treasury and environmental impacts were considered, the proposal was abandoned by the Carr Labor Government that was elected in 1995.

Yes. You can find an interactive map showing the approximate impacted areas of national parks here.

 

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Australian Foundation for Wilderness Limited
ACN 001 112 143
ABN 84 001 112 143
Advocating as 'Wilderness Australia'
Formerly The Colong Foundation for Wilderness Ltd
Registered Office 10/154 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000
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