In Letters, issue 331 (Thursday 26 February, 2015) of The Canowindra Phoenix, Robert Sherwood has put forward the rather glib comment strongly supporting construction of the proposed Cranky Rock Dam. This is on the premise that “it was as logical in the 1950s as it is today” and “why not get on with it and stop prevaricating”.
May I point out to your readers that the 1950’s logic, to which Mr Sherwood refers, is no longer applicable or valid today. Worldwide, in the 21st Century, we note the increasing stress and failure of ecosystems and the rising controversy associated with human interference with the arterial flow of natural waterways. An example of ecosystem collapse is the case of Easter Island, which led to the demise of that civilisation. A parallel is often drawn between Easter Island and the planet today.
I believe that the prevarication which he suggests is occurring is actually deep and careful assessment of this proposal. Dams frequently do not provide the outcome initially promised, when weighed against the enormous cost of construction. Additionally, for a number of reasons dams are another of the many threats to which our ecosystems are exposed. Among other threats are overpopulation and deforestation, which in turn lead to climate change. Mr Sherwood has already pointed out one environmental problem with the Cranky Rock proposal, that of flood mitigation restricting the deposition of pasture enriching silt downstream. This is only one of the many problems associated with this proposal and dams are certainly no longer the flavour of the month in enlightened environmental circles.
Dams must be considered as an experiment, the results of which may not being fully evident for perhaps hundreds of years. It may be time to consider that if, as humans, we can’t control the level of rainfall then perhaps we should carefully assess whether we should be aiming for population and industrial expansion in areas where the amount of water is the limiting factor rather than just shifting the problem by building another dam. The other option is to secure and conserve water by means other than construction of a new dam on the Belubula and thinking a lot smarter than mere bulldozer mentality.