The Orkopoulos Dam

Cr Michael Osborne, the Greens pre-selected candidate for Newcastle says

“The State Government’s announcement of a new dam in the Hunter is a dangerous ploy to distract people from the disarray of Sydney Labor and the Milton Orkopoulos affair.

“The Sydney Labor Government is stuck in the past. The only reason they would announce such a silly idea is to draw attention away from the Orkopoulos affair.

“This dam would inundate thousands of hectares of dairy country, destroy the hydrology of an iconic Hunter river and be far less cost effective than many demand management and water conservation initiatives.

“Just over a year ago Hunter Water highlighted in its submission to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal that ‘there are no plans to build Tillegra Dam in the short to medium term’ and in their Integrated Water Resource Plan Hunter Water said that ‘building a new dam at Tillegra would be far less cost effective than many demand management and water conservation initiatives’ (page 66) yet the State Government ignores this advice and opts for the grand dam idea.

“If the Government was serious about water management then it would be mandating recycling targets for the water authorities around the State and increasing the rainwater tank rebates,” Cr Osborne said

The maximum rain water tank rebate in the Hunter is $650 for a 7000 litre tank connected to the toilet or washing machine. Such an arrangement would cost more than $5000.

“More than 30 billion litres goes out to the ocean through the Burwood Beach treatment works each year. If the Government was serious about water it would be announcing a scheme to recycle this for industry, sports fields and other uses.

“Claims of the need for a dam to provide water for the Central Coast do not add up considering the amount of water predicted to be transferred to the Central Coast from the Hunter is less than 13 billion litres per year. This could easily be accommodated with recycling in the Hunter and Central Coast.


Michael Osborne is a water engineer and the co-author of “Talking Water: An Australian Guidebook for the 21st Century” – a book about water management in Australia for the Farmhand Foundation published in 2004. See

The IPART report can be found at

The Integrated Water Resource Plan can be found at

For further information: contact Michael Osborne 4940 8149 or 0439 442984



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