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Mayor of Hawkesbury City Council Patrick Conolly said the community is exhausted after five flooding events in two years.
He believes raising the dam wall is the solution.
“If the Warragamba dam wall had been raised by 14 metres, hundreds of homes in a flood like this would have been spared,” he said.
“If we were to get an 1867-style flood, the worst on record, it’s estimated raising the dam wall would save 7000 homes from being impacted and billions of dollars of public and private infrastructure.”
In 2017 the government released a report which recommended raising the dam wall by 14 metres as the “best option to reduce the risks to life, property and community assets posed by floodwaters”.
Conolly has called on the government to start raising the dam wall after years of delaying the project, which they recommended.
“Enough is enough, they’re saying all the right things and saying they’re going to do it but they keep coming up with new ways to delay the project,” Conolly said.
“It does seem like a no brainer, we don’t understand why the NSW government hasn’t been able to get this project off the ground.”
Conolly also took aim at the government choosing to keep environmental groups instead of protecting flood-prone suburbs and residents.
“They’ve spent a lot of time trying to keep protest groups happy, environmental groups don’t want the national park behind the dam wall flooded,” Conolly said.
“But I’m here to say, us downstream, we have real lives and we’re real people, and we are just as important if not more important than the trees behind the dam wall.”
Mayor of The Hills Shire Dr Peter Gangemi has supported Conolly’s call for the government to raise the dam wall, saying his council area wants immediate action.
“Raising the dam wall 14 metres for flood mitigation has the potential to reduce major flood heights by 3.5 metres,” he said.
“The cost of mitigation is always far less than the cost of recovery.”
Premier Dominic Perrottet said yesterday the government is seeking Commonwealth support to fund the project.
“Issues like raising the Warragamba dam wall are not simple,” he said.
“This kicked off years ago in terms of the Hawkesbury Nepean area and how do we deal with (floods) happening because they will happen again.
“We are seeking a 50/50 funding arrangement with the federal government.
“I don’t want to be in a position in ten years saying we should’ve done this back in 2022.”
Roadway torn in two by floodwaters on NSW’s Mid North Coast