National Parks Association condemns dam EIS

The Burragorang Valley will be altered by inundation if the dam wall-raising project goes ahead. Picture: Simon Bennett
The Burragorang Valley will be altered by inundation if the dam wall-raising project goes ahead. Picture: Simon Bennett

The recently-released Warragamba Dam wall-raising Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been condemned by the National Parks Association of NSW.

The EIS, which is thousands of pages long, was released at the end of September and details the government's plan to raise the wall several metres in order to reduce the risk of flood in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley downstream

However, doing that would inundate large swathes of important Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

The long-gestating project has previously drawn criticism and concern from Indigenous residents, scientists, environmental action groups, local councils, politicians and even UNESCO.

National Parks Association (NPA) president Dr Grahame Douglas slammed the release of the EIS, which came out the same day the NSW Government announced its commitment to halve greenhouse gases by 2030.

"It is shocking that, on the very same day as committing to emission reduction targets to help Australia meet international standards, the NSW Government has released plans to raise the Warragamba Dam wall and flood the national parks of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area," Dr Doulas said.

"Protecting biodiverse natural habitats, including those of the Greater Blue Mountains, is one of the most effective and practical ways of sequestering carbon.

"It is not a matter of climate action or conservation, we need both."

NPA executive officer Gary Dunnett said the organisation would be working to highlight the many flaws to be found in the EIS.

"NPA will work with biodiversity and protected area experts to demonstrate that the exhibited EIS massively understates the impacts on the World Heritage Area," he said.

"Let's make no bones about it - any commitment to world heritage and national parks is totally incompatible with this flawed proposal."

The EIS was also panned by the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, with general manager Harry Burkitt calling the proposal "the most profound attack on Australia's World Heritage in decades".

Meanwhile Gundungurra spokeswoman Kazan Brown labelled it a "white-washed piece of garbage".

Wollondilly Council held an extraordinary meeting last week to call out the many flaws in the document, and has set aside $45,000 to fight the plan.