Raising Clarrie Hall Dam

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Council is undertaking a number of related projects to secure a long-term water supply for the growing shire and adapt to the impacts of climate change. One of those projects is the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam.

In December 2015 Council resolved to undertake the planning and land acquisition for the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam. It is proposed to raise the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam by 8.5 metres to a height of 70 metres Australian Height Datum (AHD RL70) thereby increasing the size of the dam from 16,000 megalitres (ML) to approximately 42,300 ML to provide a secure

Council is undertaking a number of related projects to secure a long-term water supply for the growing shire and adapt to the impacts of climate change. One of those projects is the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam.

In December 2015 Council resolved to undertake the planning and land acquisition for the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam. It is proposed to raise the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam by 8.5 metres to a height of 70 metres Australian Height Datum (AHD RL70) thereby increasing the size of the dam from 16,000 megalitres (ML) to approximately 42,300 ML to provide a secure water supply for the Tweed until at least 2046.


Progress Environmental Impact Statement consultation completed


During late February to mid-March 2021 the EIS consultant undertook online community consultation in relation to progress findings from various EIS studies. Thank you to stakeholders who provided comments and raised questions, and many others who reviewed the EIS summary and project flythrough.

The consultation has now closed and the feedback gathered will be included within the EIS report. Future milestones include completion of the EIS, submission of the EIS to the NSW Government and Public Exhibition of the EIS.

Please register for updates in the top right hand corner of this project site to receive direct progress reports. This site has the EIS summary and fly-through video used during the consultation, so you can review these at any time.

Once the EIS goes on public exhibition, anyone wishing to make a comment or make a submission on it will be directed to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) website. We will publish a link to that website here.


Context


Council is undertaking a number of related projects to secure a long-term water supply for the growing shire and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Through Council’s water-efficiency initiatives, the average Tweed resident has reduced their demand for water by more than 20 per cent in recent decades, allowing Council to service an increasing population without increasing the amount of water drawn from the Tweed River. Currently, Council is able to meet demand for water until approximately 2026.

To service the needs of the community after 2026, Council has resolved to undertake the planning and land acquisitions to raise Clarrie Hall Dam. This raising will treble the dam’s capacity and double its footprint, providing water security until at least 2046.

Further impacts of climate change are sea level rise, lower flows in the Tweed River and a forecast greater frequency of extreme weather events. This creates an increasing risk that Bray Park Weir will be overtopped by estuarine waters. That overtopping can result in salt water contamination of the Tweed District Water Supply. To address this risk, Council has resolved to accept the recommendation of a community project reference group to install a hinged barrier on the weir.

The third proposed water security project is to build a pipeline to connect the Tweed with the City of Gold Coast supply in south-east Queensland. The pipeline will provide an alternative water source in the event of a gross failure of the Tweed District Water Supply due to extreme drought or infrastructure failure. This pipeline would not negate the need to raise Clarrie Hall Dam.

To ensure Council’s approach to securing a long-term water supply for the Tweed continues to be appropriate, Council has been working with the community to review all its water strategies; being Demand Management, Water Augmentation and Drought Management Strategy. A report on this work is due to go to Council early in 2021.


  • Environmental Impact Statement consultation has concluded

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    During late February to mid-March 2021 the EIS consultant undertook online community consultation in relation to progress findings from various EIS studies. Thank you to the stakeholders who provided comments and raised questions, and many others who reviewed the EIS summary and project fly-through.

    The consultation has now closed and the feedback gathered will be included within the EIS report. Future milestones include the completion of the EIS, submission of the EIS to the NSW Government nd Public Exhibition of the EIS.

  • Environmental Impact Statement for dam raising reaches milestone

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    Monday 7 September 2020

    The preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed raising of Clarrie Hall Dam has met a milestone with completion last week of the cultural heritage excavations.

    Consultant Eco Logical Australia Pty Ltd (ELA) worked with the project's Registered Aboriginal Parties over the past nine weeks to complete the excavations of 19 Potential Archaeological Deposits.

    Soil from the excavations was sieved to isolate and collect Aboriginal artefacts. General searches of the areas around the dig sites were also completed.

    The findings from the excavations will help in the development of an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the project.

    The 19 sites are part of a range of archaeological sites that would be inundated or partially inundated when the dam wall is raised 8.5 metres to double the dam's footprint and treble its capacity.

    Meanwhile, ELA sub-consultant Coffey Australia is assessing how best to engage with the community to complete the Social Impact Assessment for the project in line with COVID-19 restrictions.

    Relevant stakeholders, including resident, industry and environment groups, should expect to be contacted directly by Coffey Australia this month.

    The EIS is expected to be completed by February 2021 and will go on exhibition for public comment around March 2021. Then, ELA will meet with the community to help explain the document for those who want to make submissions. At this stage, due to COVID-19, it is not known what format these meetings will take.

    Anyone interested in making a submission on the EIS should register to 'Stay Informed' at www.yoursaytweed.com.au/RaisingClarrieHall. This will enable Council to email you directly when the EIS goes on public exhibition and when the meetings are scheduled.

    Council has received funding under the NSW Government's Safe and Secure Water Program to undertake the EIS to raise the dam.

  • Environmental Impact Statement work for dam wall continues

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    Wednesday 20 May 2020

    Proposed raising of dam wall aims to secure water supply into the future

    The preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed raising of Clarrie Hall Dam has continued during the COVID-19 restrictions.

    Consultant Eco Logical Australia Pty Ltd was appointed in December last year to prepare the EIS.

    An EIS is a document that provides information on a project including its environmental impacts and mitigation measures. The EIS for the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam will be placed on public exhibition and submissions from the public sought.

    Site investigations for the EIS recently commenced. These include:

    • Updating the existing biodiversity (flora and fauna) assessments to comply with NSW and Federal government’s environmental assessment requirements.
    • Preliminary soils and geotechnical investigations associated with the proposed inundation zone and construction areas at the dam wall.
    • Site visits to potential archaeological deposits.
    • Further biodiversity field surveys and archaeological test excavations are programmed for winter and spring 2020.
    • Coffey Australia (a sub-consultant to the EIS consultant Eco Logical Pty Ltd) is preparing to contact a range of project stakeholders as part of the socio-economic assessment for the project.

    The raising of the dam wall is one of the major projects Council is undertaking to secure our water supply into the future.

    Raising the wall will double the dam’s footprint, treble its capacity and provide security of supply to 2046 or beyond.

    Preparation of the EIS will take about 12 months. It will then be placed on public exhibition and Council will seek submissions from the public and interested parties.

    All submissions must be formally considered and responded to in a Response to Submission Report which, in conjunction with the EIS, will go to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for assessment and making a recommendation to the Minister on whether the project should go ahead and if so under what conditions. Tweed Shire Council will then decide whether to progress the project to construction.


  • Dam raising EIS kicks off as Tweed ends Week 1 of water restrictions

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    Friday 20 December 2019

    At the end of the first week of level 2 water restrictions in the Tweed, Council consultants Eco Logical Australia began work to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed raising of Clarrie Hall Dam.

    The raising of the dam wall is one of the major projects Council is undertaking to secure our water supply into the future.

    Raising the wall will double the dam’s footprint, treble its capacity and provide security of supply to 2046.

    The Eco Logical Australia team, led by Project Manager Robert Cawley and Principal Hydrogeologist

    Dr Richard Cresswell, visited the dam on Wednesday 18 December after being briefed on the project by Council.

    In the New Year, they will take all the work done by Council to date including surveys, seismic studies, flood hydrology studies, flora and fauna studies and cultural heritage investigations to the next stage being the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement.

    Preparation of the EIS will take between 12 and 18 months. It will then be placed on public exhibition and Council will seek submissions from the public and interested parties.

    All submissions must be formally considered and responded to in a Response to Submission Report which, in conjunction with the EIS, will go to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for assessment and making a recommendation to the Minister.

    While the Minister or their delegate provides the conditions of the environmental approval, Council makes the final determination on whether the raising of the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam can go ahead.

    During preparation of the EIS, Eco Logical will work with Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) to address recommendations made in the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment (ACHA) prepared for the project. Addressing the recommendations will include further investigation and assessment of potential archaeological deposits and the development of protocols for the community collection, recording, analysis and long-term management of cultural material. Eco Logical will prepare a final ACHA, including a draft Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the project, should the proposal be approved.

    Before the draft EIS goes on public exhibition for comment early in 2021, Council will engage with the community to assist community members to understand the process and make submissions on the EIS.

    Council is committed to full transparency on this project and all documentation is publicly available at https://www.yoursaytweed.com.au/RaisingClarrieHall

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  • Contract let for Clarrie Hall Dam Environmental Impact Statement

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    Wednesday 13 November 2019

    Council has approved the awarding of a contract to an external consultancy to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed raising of Clarrie Hall Dam.

    The near $900,000 contract was awarded to Eco Logical Australia Pty Ltd.

    Member for Tweed Geoff Provest welcomed the decision, saying the preparation of the EIS for the dam was a vital step in ensuring Tweed’s future water security.

    “We are experiencing one of the worst droughts on record and while the Tweed is in a much better position than many other communities across the state, we are not immune to its impacts,” Mr Provest said.

    “I congratulate Council in progressing the early stages of the project and am proud the NSW Government has been able to help fund that important work through the Restart NSW Safe and Secure Water Program.”

    Preparation of the EIS will take between 12 and 18 months, during which the consultants will consider and respond to all issues raised in the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) and the surveys and investigations done to date. The EIS will then be placed on public exhibition and Council will seek submissions from the public and interested parties.

    All submissions must be formally considered and responded to in a Response to Submission Report which, in conjunction with the EIS, will go to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for assessment and making a recommendation to the Minister. The Minister, or his delegate, will then decide if the project can go ahead and if so under what conditions.

    Before the draft EIS goes on public exhibition for comment early in 2021, Council will engage with the community to assist community members to understand the process and make submissions on the EIS.

    During preparation of the EIS, Eco Logical will work with Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) to address recommendations made in the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment (ACHA) prepared for the project. Addressing the recommendations will include further investigation and assessment of potential archaeological deposits and the development of protocols for the community collection, recording, analysis and long-term management of cultural material. Eco Logical will prepare a final ACHA, including a draft Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the project should the proposal be approved.

    Meanwhile, Council will continue with plans to revegetate lands purchased to raise the wall of the dam, relocate telecommunications and electricity assets out of the proposed inundation area and investigate options to pursue carbon neutrality for the project, while finalising planning and land acquisitions. To date, some 85 per cent of the private land required has been purchased or is under contract.

    The EIS also will address such questions as whether a small hydro electricity generation plant should be put on the dam and whether trees within the new inundation footprint should be cleared or submerged.

    Council is committed to full transparency on this project and all documentation is publicly available at https://www.yoursaytweed.com.au/RaisingClarrieHall

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  • What's happening with the Clarrie Hall Dam project

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    16 July 2019

    Council recently finalised the scope of works to develop the Environmental Impact Statement for raising the Clarrie Hall Dam wall, which aims to secure the Tweed’s water supply beyond 2026.

    Council gave approval in December 2015 to begin the planning phase for raising the wall and acquiring the private property needed to do it.

    What has been achieved so far:

    • Completed concept design and all the investigative studies required to raise the wall.

    • Eleven of the 16 properties needed have been secured and Council is continuing negotiations on the remaining five.

    • Council has begun to fence the new dam property and enforce the requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines to not allow any stock within the dam boundary.

    • Council is well advanced in working with Telstra and Essential Energy on relocating their assets out of the inundation zone.

    What’s next?

    • In August, Council will award the winning tenderer, which will mark the beginning of a 12 to 18-month-long journey to secure final Ministerial approval for this critical project to proceed.

    • Council is about to begin geotechnical investigations to build a new bridge across Doon Doon Creek to replace the existing McCabe’s Bridge because it will be under three and a half metres of water when the raised dam fills.

    • Plans are in place to measure and monitor the effectiveness of Council’s efforts to revegetate the land it has purchased and restore it to native mixed eucalypt open forest.

    • Council is exploring the feasibility of hydro power generation at the dam and looking into what is required to achieve carbon neutral construction.

    • Council is considering drafting a new dam management plan as part of the project and well ahead of construction starting in 2023.


  • Council extends response deadline for slash and bale tender

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    15 May 2019

    Council wishes to advise you that it is seeking to establish an arrangement where a suitable operator would slash and bale at no cost to Council areas near Clarrie Hall Dam and retain the right to keep or sell the baled grass.

    This tender can be viewed at https://www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/Tenders/Current

    The deadline for responding to this tender has been extended for one week to Wednesday 22 May 2019.


  • Shire on notice as dam falls below 90% capacity

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    25 February 2019

    The water level of Clarrie Hall Dam has fallen below 90 per cent capacity, putting the shire on notice that if significant rain is not received in the next eight weeks water restrictions will be put in place.

    The sale and movement of water outside the shire is now banned. That is, water carters can still supply shire customers but cannot sell water across the shire boundary. Water carting is banned from the Uki and Tyalgum supplies.

    “The level of the dam is dropping close to 2 per cent a week, meaning we have about eight weeks until we hit 75 per cent capacity and have to declare Level 1 water restrictions,” Manager Water and Wastewater Anthony Burnham said.

    “To delay the imposition of restrictions, we all need to conserve water where we can. Currently the average use per person per day in the Tweed is 177 litres, against a target of 160 litres per person per day. We know we can do better and there’s no time like now to try.”

    If implemented, Level 1 restrictions mean you cannot water your lawn. You can water your garden every second day (using the odd/even house numbering system) but only for one hour between 4pm and 9am using a hand-held hose or 15 minutes using a micro spray or drip irrigation system. No sprinkler or soaker hoses are allowed and no one can water their garden on the 31st of the month.

    If you have just laid turf, you can water it for one hour a day for the first 14 days of establishment only.

    If you have a swimming pool or spa, you can top it up between 4pm and 9am using a hand-held hose but you cannot empty and refill it. If you are building a new pool or spa, you can fill them.

    You can top up a fish pond to keep the fish alive but you can’t build or fill a new one.

    You can water your dog or horse but you can’t wash him or his house unless you use a bucket or hand-held hose.

    If you are selling or leasing your house and need to wash it down, you can do that with a water efficient high-pressure cleaner with Council approval only.

    For cars, it’s buckets anytime or hand-held hoses between 4pm and 9am.

    To wash the saltwater off the tinny, you have 10 minutes only using a hand-held hose.

    Permitted uses of water are different for commercial customers and for businesses that rely on water as a key input. These customers should refer directly to our Drought Management Policy to manage their water use if restrictions are applied.


  • Council proposes new alignment for McCabes Bridge replacement

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    18 February 2019

    Council has reviewed the proposed alignment of the new McCabes Bridge, to replace the existing bridge which will be inundated when the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam is raised.

    We now propose to re-align the road further to the north-west, allowing it to traverse the edge of the gully rather than the centre of the gully.

    This modification has been made possible because Council now owns the property just south of the existing bridge, namely the former Coleman property at 511 Doon Doon Road.

    To understand the proposed change to the alignment, see the documents March 2018 alignment and February 2019 alignment in the Documents Library on this page.

    Essentially the new alignment will have no additional adverse impact on motorists or residents but will provide a number of benefits, namely:

    · moving the road further from the neighbouring property boundaries

    · allowing an improved alignment of the intersection of Commissioners Creek Road and Doon Doon Road, and

    · allowing the same entry driveways to private property neighbours as exist now.

    The revised alignment also will provide a number of benefits for Council with respect to constructability and cost, namely:

    · reduce the amount of earthworks to be undertaken by an estimated 20,000 cubic metres

    · reduce the requirement to haul fill from one site to another

    · eliminate the need to install a large culvert to drain the upstream gully

    · require an additional 300 metres of roadworks on the southern side, and

    · cost slightly less.

    To have your say on this proposal, please use the Forum page below.


  • Water release from dam to top up river supply

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    Tuesday 15 January 2019

    Council yesterday began releasing water from Clarrie Hall Dam to ensure continued supply to the Tweed as the Bray Park Weir level drops up to 40mm further every day without rain.

    The dam currently sits at 99 per cent full but the weir water level is 230mm below the weir wall.

    The water release from the dam is designed to ensure continued supply to meet the demand for raw water at Bray Park Water Treatment Plant.

    However, the water release will have little or no effect on a blue-green algal bloom which has currently affected the weir. Some customers may detect an unpleasant musty or earthy smell and taste to the water but are assured it is safe to drink.

    “The smell will be most noticeable in hot water and confined spaces, such as the shower room, but remains well within the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and poses no risk to human health,” said Manager Water and Wastewater Anthony Burnham.

    Anyone experiencing an unpleasant smell or taste to their drinking water is asked to contact Council on (02) 6670 2400 to assist Council to monitor the situation.

    The continuing hot dry weather also has resulted in insufficient river flows to hold back a potential saltwater tidal overtopping of the weir next week.

    Council will deploy the temporary concrete block barrier across the full width of the weir wall on Friday to protect against a predicted overtopping event on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, 22 and 23 January respectively.

    “The predicted tide is forecast to be higher than the current water level in the weir so we will barrier off the weir wall to prevent any salt water entering the weir and contaminating our raw water supply.

    “Once the risk passes, we will remove the temporary barrier, possibly by Friday next week.”

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