Sample letter to Members of Parliament
[Correct title as per list: see contact details of politicians, Lake Yarrunga Task Force Campaign Committee (24 August 2005)]
Dear [Premier / Minister / Member],
I am writing to you to express my total opposition to any raising of Tallowa Dam in Kangaroo Valley.
As a resident of Kangaroo Valley [or Shoalhaven or elsewhere] I am concerned that the proposal to raise the dam has been taken on poor advice.
The dam, although built to allow a 4.6 metre height increase, was not previously raised because of concerns over flooding in Kangaroo Valley, scouring of the Shoalhaven River, and flooding of Bendeela camp grounds - a vital tourist resource for the Valley. (Evidence to support this statement comes from the MWS & DB Shoalhaven Scheme Interim Report, Chapt 2 Tallowa Dam.) Nothing has changed.
In addition I am very concerned that ...... [take your pick from the list below].
I urge you and your Parliamentary colleagues to reject the proposal to raise the dam, a proposal made without community consultation or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), either of which would have raised these concerns.
Select one or two points to include in your letter:
1 Increasing the height will substantially increase the size of Lake Yarrunga when full. It is estimated the Lake will stretch all the way back past the Friendly Inn Hotel.
2 Relating to point 1 - thousands of trees will drown as the Lake rises and falls with the pumping regime. We cannot estimate what birdlife or animal life will be lost.
3 Bendeela Campground, a facility given to the people of KV (and NSW) when Tallowa Dam was constructed, will never be the same. A huge levy bank proposed by Sydney Catchment Authority to prevent water from inundating the camping areas will need to be one kilometre long and several metres high and then will be of dubious use during a big Kangaroo Valley flood.
4 Construction of a levy bank at Bendeela will destroy the best mature trees and the best camp sites.
5 The popular "beach" at the weir will disappear when the lake is full and for much of the rest of the time. This spot is also a key canoe launching site, swimming spot and picnic area.
6 Given Kangaroo Valley's propensity for huge deluges of rain, what might the results be if one of these occurs at a time when the Lake is full? Increased flooding in Kangaroo Valley; more closures of the Main Road (links western Sydney with the South Coast); the possibility of damage to or loss of Hampden Bridge.
7 What would the effect of a full Lake and flood waters be on the Lower Shoalhaven River if the gates on the dam were opened during such conditions? Bigger than ever floods in Nowra?
8 The proposed pumping regime will leave the Lower Shoalhaven River in a poor state - are we to create another sick river in NSW (to add to the Hawkwebury-Nepean; Snowy; Georges etc)?
9 Why have the recommendations of the major study "Water and Sydney's Future", the Final Report of the Hawkesbury-Nepean River Management Forum, been ignored? This document made 15 key recommendations, none of which included raising Tallowa Dam. Rather the report recommended that pumping from Tallowa Dam should occur only in "high flow".
10 Why has there not been a big television advertising campaign in Sydney to encourage water savings across industry and domestic users?
11 Even though their existence is acknowledged by Sydney Catchment Authority, there has been no attention paid to Aboriginal sites and no study undertaken in the Upper Shoalhaven River.