A MAYOR in the region has told an inquiry into raising the wall at Wyangala Dam, between Bathurst and Cowra, that councils are concerned about the impact of water shortages on the social and industrial fabric of communities.
"With that in mind, we have been quite happy to see the alleged fast-tracking of Wyangala Dam, bearing in mind that we have always said that the process needs to be followed," Cowra mayor Bill West said.
The proposed raising of the Wyangala Dam wall is expected to create capacity for an additional 650 gigalitres - or 53 per cent more storage.
The inquiry into the Wyangala project comes as Bathurst Regional councillor Warren Aubin asks council to consider a dam on the Fish River to add to the city's water security.
He has also previously suggested raising the Chifley Dam wall again.
Cr West told the Wyangala inquiry why Cowra Council and others believe raising the wall at Wyangala is a better option than the previously considered construction of new dams at Cranky Rock and Cliefden Caves on the Belubula River.
"The Cranky Rock site was ruled out because it had a $1 billion price tag and the geological structure is not suitable for a dam," he said.
Problems associated with the Cliefden Caves site were even more significant, according to Cr West.
"The one that probably created the biggest problem was an area that was adjacent to the Cliefden Caves and the limestone caves," he said.
"The councils in the region made a public and private commitment that we would walk away from that option if it looked like impacting on those caves at all, and it looked like impacting.
"Whilst they were both probably even in their choice, that is how the Wyangala Dam was chosen, because of all of those factors being included in the consideration, particularly when it came to the choice between increasing the Wyangala Dam wall and the Cranky Rock perspective.
"I would say that, in terms of Wyangala, it also makes sense where you increase the capacity of an existing dam.
"One big dam is far better in terms of water storage and less evaporation than having half a dozen small dams.
"Water shortages and droughts will come. They are part of the natural ebb and flow of our seasons.
"Now is the time to be planning for greater water security. Now is the time to be planning and looking at how we can secure our communities into the future."