A disgruntled Wagga farmer has taken his battle for better management of dams in the Murrumbidgee River catchment to the city's MP.
Tom Kelsall met with Member for Wagga Joe McGirr this week to discuss his dissatisfaction with the management of both Burrinjuck and Blowering dams by Water NSW, claiming the current system is "flawed".
Yesterday, the level of the Murrumbidgee River in Wagga rose above six metres, with Burrinjuck Dam continuing to spill and Blowering Dam nearing capacity.
Mr Kelsall said with the Bureau of Meteorology having earlier predicted the median rainfall would be exceeded by 70 to 80 per cent during the July-to-September period, creating airspaces in the dams should have been done long before now.
IN OTHER NEWS:
When speaking to Dr McGirr on Tuesday, Mr Kelsall called for "dam capacities to be under 90 per cent as a matter of urgency".
"I think they [Water NSW] are 'winging it', and they're trying to maximise the amount of water in the dams, as opposed to optimising for everyone's benefit," he said.
"The current management is based on 'conservative flows', which if exceeded means that there will not be enough airspace to prevent or minimise flooding.
"A Water NSW statement [from July 7] implies dam target levels of 100 per cent by the start of the irrigation season, which means 100 per cent priority will be given to irrigation, over the safety and welfare of residents, cities, townships, businesses and farmers along the Tumut and Murrumbidgee Rivers."
A spokesperson for Water NSW said all dam managers needed to "prioritise for the future". "Where flood and mitigation measures are possible, Water NSW conducts those operations and is currently and has been in this case for many weeks," the spokesperson said.
"Flood mitigation always needs to be weighed up against water security, not just for this year but the years ahead."
Dan Grentell, the vice president of the North Wagga Residents' Association was also concerned by the situation.
"They should be on top of this by now, especially as they have the forecast models of what's predicted. They should be accounting for that which they haven't," he said.
Mr Grentell believes they should be keeping "minimum 20 per cent" room for airspace, particularly in wet seasons.
Dr McGirr agreed there was a strong requirement for better management.
"There is a pressing need to drop the levels of both Blowering and Burrinjuck dams because of the current wet conditions. I agree that a drop to at least 90 per cent should be considered."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: