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.


  • Council to shortlist tenderers for dam raising EIS

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    08 Nov 2018

    4 October 2018

    Council has called Expressions of Interest for an independent consultant to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed project to raise the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam.

    Expressions close at 4pm on Wednesday 17 October 2018.

    Council is seeking to shortlist tenderers to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project, which considers and addresses all issues raised in the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) based on all the surveys and investigations done to date and comments by relevant Agencies.

    Investigations completed or well advanced include biodiversity, cultural heritage, flooding and hydrology and an environmental flows assessments.

    It will take 18 months to two years to complete the EIS, before it goes on public exhibition in early 2020.

    “The project is classified as a State Significant Infrastructure Project. Calling Expressions of Interest marks a significant milestone for the project which remains on schedule for the dam to be raised by 2026,” Project Manager Robert Siebert said.

    “The EIS will go on public exhibition in early 2020. Council will be urging the community to get more involved and make their submissions at that time as it is a requirement that all submissions be considered. This is the stage when every voice will be heard.

    All the information on the project is available at https://www.yoursaytweed.com.au/ClarrieHallDam.

    Council will continue its commitment to full transparency on this project as we enter this critical phase of the project.”

    Expression of Interest documentation is available on the eTender site on Council’s website.

    - ends -


  • Project Update

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    17 Aug 2018

    A further significant milestone towards augmenting the shire’s water supply has been achieved. NSW Department of Planning has issued to Council the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements to be addressed in the form of an Environmental Impact Statement for raising the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam.

    The Department of Planning and Environment has provided Council with the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements for the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam. The next steps will be for Council to review the requirements and engage a suitably qualified consultant to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in accordance with those requirements. The EIS will then be placed on public exhibition and the public will be able to make submissions detailing their support or otherwise for the project and detailing any concerns they may have.

    It is anticipated the EIS will take some 12 to 18 months to prepare with exhibition in early 2020.

    Council is continuing work on establishing vegetation restoration trial sites for the revegetation of the land it purchases for the raising of the dam and is working with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust to ensure these restoration sites are managed in accordance with new biodiversity legislation.


  • Council to open properties purchased for cattle agistment

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    17 Jul 2018

    17 July 2018

    Council will call for Request(s) for Offer to agist three properties Council has purchased for the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam, namely:

    • 511 Doon Doon Road, approximately 50ha

    • 426 Commissioners Creek Road, approximately 101ha, and

    • 701 Doon Doon Road (currently under contract to be sold to Council), approximately 74ha.

    The properties are being offered for cattle agistment either separately or as a whole for a period of two years, with any option to extend being solely at the discretion of Council. It is intended that the agistment will end prior to the start of construction to raise the wall of the dam.

    The terms of agistment will be set out in the Request for Offer documents.

    Prior to signing any agreement with the successful bidder, Council will complete a Conditions Report of the property/s and this will form the basis of the agreed condition the property is to be kept in.

    The Request for Offer will be advertised in the Tweed Link shortly.


  • Dam raising project to be assessed as state significant infrastructure

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    13 Jul 2018

    Thursday 12 July 2018

    Council has achieved a significant milestone towards augmenting the shire’s water supply by applying to the NSW Government for the environmental planning assessment requirements for raising the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam.

    The Department of Planning and Environment accepted Council’s application for approval to proceed with the project as State Significant Infrastructure and will be issuing the criteria against which the project will be assessed.

    Council lodged a Preliminary Environmental Assessment report with the Department, which summarises the justification, scope of works and potential environmental and social impacts of the project. This information is required by the State Government to develop the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements or SEARs (also referred to as the Environmental Impact Statement requirements). The assessment report can be found in the Document Library at https://www.yoursaytweed.com.au/ClarrieHallDam.

    In its application Council advised the State Government there was a requirement to augment the water supply by 2026.

    “Option studies have consistently shown that raising Clarrie Hall Dam is the preferred option to increase the shire’s water supply,” Council Project Manager Robert Siebert said of the application.

    Council proposes to raise the dam wall by 8.5 metres, substantially increasing the dam’s capacity to 42,300 megalitres and securing an adequate water supply for the shire to approximately 2046.

    The project may also need approval from the Commonwealth Government for impacts to Commonwealth protected flora and fauna.

    The Flora and Fauna Assessment undertaken by Council as part of project planning has identified that several Commonwealth threatened species would be affected by the raising of the dam, including the Giant Barred Frog (Mixophyes iteratus),the Red Lilly Pilly (Syzygium hodgkinsoniae) and a patch of lowland rainforest.

    Council will now work with the NSW and Commonwealth governments to develop strategies to avoid and minimise impacts on these and other environmental values in the area.

    Council also is establishing vegetation restoration trial sites for the revegetation of the land it purchases for the raising of the dam and is working with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust to ensure these restoration sites are managed in accordance with new biodiversity legislation.

    The initial Archaeological Assessment and Aboriginal Cultural Assessment for the project has been completed and that report can be found in the Document Library at https://www.yoursaytweed.com.au/ClarrieHallDam.

    Environmental Flow studies are continuing.

    - ends -


  • Dam project offers chance to restore native ecosystems

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    13 Jul 2018

    4 July 2018

    While a project to raise Clarrie Hall Dam is still in its early planning and land acquisition stage, it offers Council the opportunity to trial a range of vegetation restoration actions to regenerate lands purchased for the bigger dam.

    From the lands purchased, Council has identified a large parcel it will establish as a restoration trial site for benchmarking the success of revegetation efforts and the return of native fauna to land previously cleared for cattle grazing. Revegetating land adjacent to the dam will complement the existing catchment buffer zone.

    In establishing the restoration trial site, Council will measure fauna activity on the property prior to any revegetation works being undertaken and then monitor changes in fauna activity over time.

    The trail restoration property has about 54 hectares of advanced regrowth forest, including a number of threatened flora and fauna species. Council will prioritise weed management within threatened species habitat to assist in the conservation of these species. In other areas, various restoration techniques would be implemented to promote natural regeneration. In some instances, where a high level of intervention is warranted, tubestock would be planted.

    Council’s aim in restoring the trial site is to recreate the mixed eucalypt open forest that would have existed prior to the property being cleared.

    The regeneration of the characteristic Brush Box, Pink Bloodwood, Tallowwood, Grey Ironbark, White Mahogany and Grey Gum will signal the reestablishment of native vegetation communities and will assist in stabilising soil in the water supply catchment and improve habitat values for native fauna, such as glossy black cockatoos, koala, forest owls and insectivorous bats.

    Restoration of the site also will improve connectivity of vegetation corridors in the Doon Doon catchment to assist wildlife movement and genetic transfer.

    Over coming years, the data collected from the restoration site may be valuable in evidencing the success of the various regeneration methodologies which, in turn, will enable successful and cost-effective approaches to restoring other properties in the catchment and further afield.

    The Restoration Strategy for the trial site is available in the Document Library on this site.


  • Scientists map creek and river habitat for dam raising

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    28 Jun 2018

    Thursday 28 June, 2018

    Council consultants have completed the first survey of Doon Doon Creek and the Tweed River down to Bray Park Weir to determine how a raised Clarrie Hall Dam may affect fish and other aquatic species.

    The scientists from Eco Logical last week studied 18 kilometres of waterway, noting habitat features of the river and the location of pools, riffles (rocky or shallow parts with rough water) and rapids.

    They took 640 depth-readings and found depths ranging from just a few centimetres to one pool 10 metres deep in the river.

    During the survey they sighted Australian bass, freshwater catfish and schools of freshwater mullet.

    The scientists will return to the Tweed in spring and summer to look for fish, frogs and other aquatic creatures at six sites identified in last week's survey. To do this, they will rely on both visual sightings and nets.

    They also will install loggers to monitor the dissolved oxygen content and temperature in the water, and any changes to them over the seasons. This will inform Council of any layers within the deep pools, which are low in oxygen or colder …. (and the why behind it).

    The scientists will return to monitor the waterways during a release from Clarrie Hall Dam, if and when one is required. Releases occur during times of low flow to ensure the continued health of the waterway or, occasionally, to assist to hold back a saltwater high tide from overtopping the Bray Park Weir pool.

    From the field data collected, Eco Logical will recommend an environmental flow regime from the dam that will minimise any impact of the raising of dam wall on the downstream ecology while maintaining water security for the Tweed Shire.


  • Scientists map aquatic habitat for dam raising

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    08 Jun 2018

    8 June 2018

    Council consultants will begin to map aquatic habitat in Doon Doon Creek and the Tweed River next week to determine how the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam may impact on fish and other aquatic species.

    Scientists from EcoLogical will undertake the field research, both walking and in canoes, to map critical habitat features such as pools and riffles (rocky or shallow part with rough water) and determine the number of species within the impacted waterways and the population of each species.

    The field work will be undertaken for several days every season over the next year, starting on Monday 18 June.

    Property owners adjoining Doon Doon Creek and the Tweed River downstream of Clarrie Hall Dam are advised they may see a small team of scientists working on and at the water’s edge. The scientists’ schedule is:

    Monday 18 June – walk Doon Doon Creek to the start of the Tweed River

    Tuesday 19 June – canoe from start of Tweed River to Lange Road bridge

    Wednesday 20 June – canoe from Lange Road Bridge to crossing (north of 886 Kyogle Road)

    Thursday 21 June – canoe from crossing to Bray Park Weir.

    The field work will continue into the night, as the scientists identify and count frog species.

    From the field data collected, EcoLogical will attempt to identify measures to mitigate any impact the dam has and, if raised, will have on the aquatic environment. It is hoped measures to improve the present aquatic environment can be found and implemented.

    The methodology to be used by the EcoLogical scientists for the Clarrie Hall Dam Environmental Flows Assessment can be found in the Document Library.

    The EcoLogical team also would like to learn from local knowledge about the flora and fauna in the creek, or observations of the creek. Residents with information can provide that direct via the Guestbook button on this site or by contacting them via Council by telephoning (02) 677 2400.


  • New bridge to keep Commissioners Creek connected

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    26 Apr 2018

    Thursday 26 April 2018

    Council last week adopted a recommendation to build a new bridge parallel to the existing McCabe’s Bridge at Doon Doon to provide road access to residents of Commissioners Creek after the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam is raised.

    The decision followed a number of studies and 12 months’ consultation with the affected residents. The residents nominated a new bridge as their preferred option at a stakeholder meeting at Doon Doon Hall on Tuesday 20 March.

    The residents’ preference was presented to Council as the preferred option and adopted unanimously.

    Council will now begin work on the detailed design and environmental assessment for constructing the new bridge. This work will take about a year.

    The new bridge will be six metres higher than the existing bridge and require the raising and upgrading of 700 metres of road approach on both sides. It will be a three-span, 50-metre-long concrete bridge with two four-metre-wide traffic lanes and will cost about $6 million. Construction of the new bridge may begin as early as 2019. The existing bridge will remain in use during bridge construction.

    Construction to raise the wall of the dam is due to start in 2023.

    At the request of the community, Council undertook a detailed investigation of four options to provide continuing road access into the area after McCabe’s Bridge is inundated. The option preferred by the community was the cheapest, would result in the least environmental disturbance, harm to native flora and fauna and impact on areas of Aboriginal cultural significance and disruption to residents during construction.

    The other options presented were for a new bridge on the existing alignment and two road options linking Doon Doon Road and Commissioners Creek Road. More information on all options can be found on the Raising Clarrie Hall Dam project page on Your Say Tweed.

    Last week’s decision marks a milestone in the project, which kicked off on 10 December 2015 when Council resolved that ‘based on the information currently available, Council adopts the raising of the wall of the Clarrie Hall Dam as the preferred option for future water security and proceeds with the planning, approval and land acquisitions phase for the project’.

    The Concept Design for raising the wall of the dam is being undertaken by New South Wales Public Works, which built the dam in 1982. Land acquisitions are continuing, with 60 per cent of the required purchases completed or under contract. Work has also begun to engage an independent consultant to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement. The process to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement will take about two years before it goes on public exhibition in mid-2020 for community comment.

    By early 2021, the project will be set to face its final hurdle before construction begins after a second independent consultant assesses all documentation and public submissions and makes a recommendation to the Minister to proceed or terminate the project.



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