Kyogle Council is calling on the NSW Government and WaterNSW to urgently commit to raising the wall of Toonumbar Dam by six metres to improve drought security and encourage further investment in agricultural production.
Councillors at the 9 December Council meeting were told that raising the height of the dam wall would increase the dam’s storage capacity by 8GL to almost 20GL and could be completed for just $50 million.
Kyogle Council Mayor Cr Danielle Mulholland said WaterNSW had advised council the wall could be raised without actually increasing the height of the existing embankment.
Rather, it could be achieved by building a new spillway to the south of the existing dam and installing gates on the current spillway.
“This is about planning for the future for the whole of the Kyogle and Richmond Valley areas and making the best possible use of the existing facility,” Cr Mulholland said.
“There has been a lot of talk about improving water security and drought resilience, and this proposal does both, for what is a relatively small investment.
“We continue to have discussions with WaterNSW about what they are prepared to do with this asset and how they intend to manage the issues associated with it. With the drought, this has become a far more urgent matter and we need to partner with the State Government to deliver outcomes that meet community expectations.”
Kyogle Council Deputy Mayor Cr John Burley, who moved the motion to pursue the proposal to raise the dam wall, said Toonumbar Dam was an undervalued resource that had the potential to benefit the entire region.
“As well as giving improved drought security for water users downstream of the dam, the increased capacity of the dam would provide incentive for existing water users and opportunities for new high value agricultural productions in the local area,” he said.
“There is also potential for the dam to be used as a town water supply source by either Rous Water or Richmond Valley Council.”