Australia's leading flood experts have hit-out at claims made by minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, that raising Warragamba Dam would alleviate downstream flood risk.
Professor Jamie Pittock of the Australian National University said:
“The flood control capacity of dams is limited. Homes in Brisbane flooded in the past week despite having one of Australia’s biggest flood control dams upstream.
"The fact is that the NSW Government is planning for 134,000 more people to move onto the already over-populated floodplains, where people will still be exposed to the worst and most dangerous floods no matter how high a wall is built. If the NSW Government is really concerned about flood risk it should limit further development in harm’s way on the floodplain.
"The government needs to focus on upgrading evacuation roads in Western Sydney so that residents can get out safely. As we saw yesterday, evacuation roads are being cut long before major floods hit."
Dr Chas Keys, former SES Deputy Commissioner, said:
“The proposal to raise the Warragamba Dam wall is flawed on several counts and should not be proceeded with. It promises mitigative benefits but may actually exacerbate the problems created by severe flooding.”
"Raising Warragamba Dam is not the panacea for flooding that Stuart Ayres likes to imply. Warragamba Dam is not on the Nepean or the Grose Rivers, both of which can produce large floods without a drop of water flowing over the Warragamba Dam wall. Therefore raising the dam wall cannot control flooding on these major tributaries of the Hawkesbury River."
Harry Burkitt of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, said:
"The fact is not even the Insurance Council of Australia supports the raising of the Warragamba Dam wall - and they are the leading experts on floodplain risk in Australia. They know that raising the dam wall would be ineffective at reducing flood risk.
"It is time to look at the real solutions that will protect people in western Sydney from floods instead of engaging in endless culture wars about dam-building."
All individuals available for interview.