The NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet, wants to raise Western Sydney’s Warragamba Dam. Back on October 5, he said raising it by 15 metres was a “number one priority” of his. Moreover, in recent days, his fervour hasn’t wavered.
Perrottet has now gone on the record saying that he’d bankroll this $1.6 billion project, even if the Federal Government doesn’t help him out. This is despite the fact that his Treasurer, Ben Fordham, has said that the finances for it don’t “stack up” without national support.
Moreover, Perrottet’s also pushing for the environmental impact statement and an independent report by WaterNSW to be completed swiftly.
“I don’t want red tape and bureaucracy getting in the way of getting this project achieved,” said Perrottet.
But why is Perrottet wanting Warragamba Dam to be raised by 15 metres to the tune of $1.6 billion? Why is he fighting so hard for this? Well, if it floods here in the future, Perrottet believes that this project would save a lot of people who live below the wall.
“In a flood similar to the worst on record in the valley, the number of homes impacted would drop threefold from 15,500 to 5,000, while 14,000 people would need to be evacuated rather than 90,000. The cost of damages would also be reduced by up to $8 billion,” said his Minister for Lands and Water, Kevin Anderson.
The Other Side of the Argument
It’s worth noting that First Nations peoples have been against increasing the Warragamba Dam for literal years now. This is because if the dam rises in height, so too does the water that it can hold in. If said water rises, it could flood hectares of the heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park and destroy over 1,200 culturally significant Aboriginal sites.
As Gundungurra Traditional Owner, Kazan Brown, said back in 2020, “The place is full of culture. My grandfather used to call it our Vatican. The river is our creation story.”
“I don’t want my grandkids to learn about this in a book. This needs to stop.”
This stance has been backed up by the Blue Mountains City Council. They are now vocally opposing the NSW Government’s proposal to raise the dam.
“The NSW Government proposal to raise the wall of Warragamba Dam in the interests of urban development of the Hawkesbury-Nepean floodplains would potentially allow flooding of up to 4,700 ha of land and 65 km of wilderness rivers and streams,” said the council.
“We are looking at the irreversible destruction of Aboriginal cultural values and heritage, the extinguishment of Native Title, loss of our UNESCO World Heritage listing, the extinction of numerous species of plants and animals, the last wild rivers in NSW gone, and our quality of life forever damaged.”