OPINION: Dam water conservation reduces impact of floods/fires

DEAR News Of The Area,

THE letter to the editor by Adam Fuller, referencing the harvestable rights of water available to farmers, reduced by the NSW Government from 30 percent down to ten percent, in response to comments made by Candidate/Councillor Towny Judge, raises some important points.

Firstly, conservation of water in the form of dams, by landholders, lessens the impact of flooding and aids in the fight against bushfire.

There is a classic example of the benefit of dams, reducing the risk of flooding to the heavily populated urban areas, such as Coffs Harbour, which can be seen at the base of Red Hill, where following the floods of 1997, Coffs Council constructed two large dams, to slow down the flow of flood waters from the upper reaches of the catchment area, flowing down into Coffs Creek.

Reducing the amount of water able to be conserved by farmers, increases the risk of flooding to those further downstream.

Secondly, Adam Fuller mentions Peter Andrews, author of two books, relating to the slowing down of water across farmland, titled ‘Back From The Brink’ and ‘Beyond The Brink’.

When one understands that it is man who changed the landscape, from, in our area, heavily timbered country, to in many instances, cleared land, then it is man that needs to put adjustments in place, so as to slow down the flow of water across the landscape, which used to happen naturally.

Both books provide an excellent insight as to how we can better protect the environment.

Owning one of the larger areas of land in the LGA, at the headwaters to the Coffs water supply, I am conscious of the need to conserve water and to endeavor to slow down the flow of water from the catchment, so as to not only mitigate the risk of flooding, but to also provide areas of water storage which can be accessed by those needing water storage areas to fight bushfires.

The initiative to increase water storage on farms from ten percent to 30 percent was a ‘No Brainer’, the reduction back to ten percent recently announced by the NSW Labor Government is not.

Farmers such as our local member, Gurmesh Singh, who is a third generation local farmer, understand the land.

It was not that long ago that conserving water through the construction of dams was encouraged by the authorities, but not now.

I have recently gained consent through Coffs Council to construct a dam, once I comply with the conditions of the consent, I am looking at about $50,000.

This dam will be a major asset for the protection against bushfire, of my koala inhabited 650 acres of rainforest, the protection of the Dorrigo National Park, which I adjoin, the protection of the Mt Moombil communication towers, as well as acting as a water retention facility to slow down the flash flooding.

Rodger PRYCE,

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