ACTEW has recommended that detailed planning for an enlarged Cotter Dam start immediately and that pumps be installed at Angle Crossing to allow greater extraction of water from the Murrumbidgee, while more detailed scoping is conducted into water trading from Tantangara and the potential for water purification, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope announced today.
The recommendations are contained in a series of final reports which were made public by Chief Minister Jon Stanhope today.
Mr Stanhope said the Government would now consider the documents before announcing its preferred way forward.
ACTEW has provided the ACT Government with seven key reports:
1) Water Security for the ACT and Region – Recommendation to ACT Government;
2) Community Consultation Report;
3) Enlarged Cotter Dam Update Report;
4) The Cotter Dam Option;
5) Water Purification Scheme for the ACT;
6) Angle Crossing Option Project Plan; and
7) The Tantangara Dam Option.
ACTEW’s examination of potential water supply options include four key recommendations:
1) immediate commencement of detailed planning and construction of an enlarged Cotter Dam from its current capacity of 4 gigalitres to 78 gigalitres (at a capital cost of about $145 million);
2) adding to the current capacity to extract water from the Murrumbidgee River by working towards the construction of pumping capacity near Angle Crossing for transfer to the Googong Reservoir (at a capital cost of about $70 million). This project could also be used to transfer additional flows released from Tantangara Dam, if water trading commenced;
3) obtaining additional water from a source not largely dependent on rainfall within the ACT’s catchments, through either:
– the Tantangara Transfer option (approximately $38 million); or
– a Water Purification Scheme (approximately $181 – $274 million); and
4) assessing how any additional energy use involved in securing the water supply may be compensated for through carbon offsets (e.g. the planting of trees) or the use of renewable energy.
ACTEW’s reports have been given to the Government’s Water Security Taskforce to consider. The Taskforce will work closely with its Advisory Panel and other government agencies, before providing further advice to the Government.
“The ACT and region’s water security will be best achieved by ensuring a diversity of water sources,”
Mr Stanhope said. “The key is to have an adaptive management approach to our water security planning, so that we can respond to changing conditions.
Mr Stanhope said the Government greatly appreciated the comprehensive work that had been undertaken by ACTEW, in particular the extensive public consultation in relation to water purification, an option that had not previously been thoroughly canvassed with the community.
The Government expects to announce its final decision on the options before the end of the year.