• JON WOLFE

Environmental flows from Chaffey Dam put on hold

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson reports there has been a breakthrough in relation to holding critical water supplies in Chaffey Dam and the controversial environmental flow releases have been put on hold.

Mr Anderson said a common sense approach has prevailed after a series of meetings with the NSW government and key local shareholders.

He said an emergency plan of management has been put in place for the next four months and it recognises the dire situation that all water users face in the Peel Valley. As part of the new arrangement, environmental flows from Chaffey Dam will cease immediately and the water allocated for the environment will be held back in the dam.

While significant rain has fallen around the region, very little has found its way in Chaffey Dam. The current water level is at 14 per cent and Tamworth remains on strict Level 5 water restrictions.

The Department of Planning Industry and Environment will monitor the health of the Peel River including several deep pools that are home to fish, frogs and platypus as well as other aquatic wildlife.

“This new arrangement will provide greater water security for the region and is welcome news for the community who are frustrated with the current tight water restrictions. Many also expressed concern that significant rain has fallen but environmental flows continued to happen.

Mr Anderson said With critically low water storage in Chaffey Dam this strikes the right balance between critical human needs and the environment and I thank NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey, and NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean, for listening to local water user groups, community members and Tamworth Regional Council.