Attendees at Community Forum opposing the raising of Warragamba Dam wall, standing outside with arms raised

Blue Mountains Mayor criticises cynical post-flood politics; stands in solidarity with Wollondilly and the region

11 Jul 2022

Blue Mountains Mayor, Councillor Mark Greenhill has supported his Wollondilly counterpart, Mayor Matt Gould, in calling for sensible discussion around flood mitigation, following the most recent natural disaster.

Mayor Greenhill criticised the cynical politics on display following the recent flooding rains, saying it’s disgusting to see the proponents of overdevelopment pretend to be concerned about flooding and the communities affected by it, by pushing the raising of Warragamba Dam wall when all they really care about is overdevelopment.

“It simply is not true that raising the dam wall will go anywhere near preventing this from happening,” Mayor Greenhill said.

“Even the Insurance Council of Australia have rejected this idea as they can see what we see. It is only about overdevelopment.

“Much of the flooding comes from downstream of Warragamba Dam. A large proportion of the flooding we have experienced would be unaffected by a change to the dam wall.

“It is a cynical move by key State Government representatives to pretend that raising the Dam wall is a panacea for solving years of underspending on flood mitigation measures in flood prone areas.

“What we are facing with these back-to-back natural disasters are the effects of climate change, and what we need to do is stop building in flood plains.

“Instead of planning to cram in even more overdevelopment in flood prone areas the State Government needs to get over their addiction to more concrete, which only pleases the pro development lobby, and start to seriously focus on proper planning for our state’s growth.

“Raising Warragamba Dam wall will not protect areas like the Hawkesbury from flooding. It is not a magic bullet. We are expecting the possibility of more flooding rains this coming summer and no work at Warragamba Dam could possibly be completed by then, not that it would solve the problem anyway. But key State Government representatives keep trotting this line out to hide the fact that they have done nothing substantial by way of genuine flood mitigation for places like the Hawkesbury.

“We need millions of dollars of investment in roads, access ways, and escape routes for people in these areas. Proper design, raised structures, and a prohibition on further development in these areas.

“It’s also important to note that raising Warragamba Dam wall will not increase Sydney’s water supply because it’s intended to be a flood mitigation strategy. That means the water will be allowed to ebb away and won’t be stored for drinking water. What it will do, all it will do, is destroy areas of world heritage, decimate cultural heritage and possibly lead to UNESCO de-listing the Blue Mountains from the world heritage register.

“What needs to be remembered is this. Warragamba Dam was built to supply Sydney with water. It was not built as a flood mitigation measure, and it was never designed to be one. The Carr Government in the 1990s rejected the idea of raising Warragamba Dam wall because it wasn’t, and still isn’t, an appropriate design for this piece of infrastructure.

“This whole debate is nonsense. Warragamba Dam was designed to supply drinking water, not to prevent floods. A large proportion of the flooding comes from down-stream of the Dam, so raising the wall won’t help. 

“Press releases and easy sound bites will not solve the issue that confronts places like the Hawkesbury. Real State Government action, and not false panaceas, needs to take place.”

Photo: Attendees at Community Forum opposing the raising of Warragamba Dam wall, November 2019

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