Country News

Dispute over whether more dams will help water storages

By Rodney Woods

Victorian Shadow Water Minister Steph Ryan has criticised the Victorian Government's stance on the amount of dams in the state.

A government spokesperson, speaking on behalf of Water Minister Lisa Neville, said it would be impossible to build a dam without taking water from irrigators.

“New dams do not create any new water,” the spokesperson said.

“The dams we have already are in the best places to collect a high yield of water — any new dams would simply take it from somewhere else — either from farmers who currently rely on it or from the environment.

“The best way to augment water security in Victoria is to focus on modernising our water infrastructure and strengthen our water supply through non-rainfall dependent sources — such as the desalination plant and using recycled water and storm-water harvesting for non-drinking purposes.”

Ms Ryan said the government was "sitting on its hands".

“Climate change means we need to look at these options (dams) to ensure we have the ability to capture and store water when it falls,” Ms Ryan said.

“Instead the Andrews Government is sitting on its hands while the state’s water supplies dwindle and our population grows.

“Daniel Andrews’ only answer to water scarcity is expanding Melbourne’s desalination plant which is costly for water users and the environment and doesn’t help communities in any other part of the state.”

In response, the spokesperson said: "For Steph Ryan to suggest otherwise (that no more dams are needed) demonstrates a complete lack of understanding when it comes to water and climate change, especially in Victoria.”