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Committee for Sydney
Lowering Warragamba Dam is only the first step towards Sydney’s climate resilience
The future of Warragamba Dam has dominated NSW politics for years. As Sydney’s main source of drinking water supply, and with a much discussed role in flood mitigation in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley, this is not about to change anytime soon.
The former Coalition Government’s position to raise the Warragamba Dam wall has now been replaced by a new Minns Government proposal to lower the holding capacity of Warragamba Dam to achieve the same flood risk reduction result.
But let’s be clear, this is not a panacea for the rising flood risk in western Sydney. More needs to be done now, and into the future.
The proposal to lower the full supply level of Warragamba Dam creates a golden opportunity to reset water policy for Greater Sydney and the state, balancing the future drinking water needs of our state against the rising risks of climate change. Simply put, Sydney urgently needs to create more climate-independent drinking water supply.
We believe lowering the full supply capacity of Warragamba Dam is only the first step. There are three further actions needed to build Sydney’s climate resilience for today, and generations to come:
- Accelerate investment in additional drinking water security
- Treat our wastewater closer to where it is created
- Implement a combination of immediate and long-term flood risk mitigation measures.