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One metre ‘not enough’

Wednesday, 14th August, 2019

The Wilcannia Weir is two metres high but the new one will be only one metre higher. PICTURE: Lachlan Gall The Wilcannia Weir is two metres high but the new one will be only one metre higher. PICTURE: Lachlan Gall

By Myles Burt

Graziers are upset after learning the new Wilcannia Weir will only be a metre higher than one already there. 

The Pastoralists’ Association of West Darling’s vice president, Lachlan Gall, said graziers were expecting the new weir to be at least double the height of the current weir, which  is two metres. 

Mr Gall said one metre would only supply an extra six months of water storage. With the approximate depth of the Darling River channel near Wilcannia at 9m, Mr Gall said there was plenty of room to play around with the height.

“Increasing it by one metre is really not enough,” he said.

“In this day and age with this much demand on the river system further upstream and ongoing drought, it would seem sensible to increase the height of the new weir more than the one metre.

“The deeper the weir the longer the weir pool is going to last.”

Mr Gall said raising the height would extend the Darling upstream and once again separate neighbouring properties. 

As the river runs dry, Mr Gall said graziers hadn’t only lost their water supply for stock and domestic use, but also their boundary fences. 

The absence of water has allowed livestock to cross the dry river bed and go wandering into neighbouring properties.

“There’s the potential that if you lose stock they may not come back and it’s also important in terms of managing biosecurity risks,” Mr Gall said.

“We don’t want our livestock to mingle with the neighbours’.

“If the weir is higher it’s going to store water back up stream for a larger distance, the weir pool would act as a boundary fence between neighbours, if the weir pool was deeper.”

The NSW Department of Industry - Water said its analysis showed that the secure yield for the weir with a crest one metre higher than the existing weir, exceeds the unrestricted “dry year extraction requirements” by about 100 megalitres per annum, and would “provide water security for Wilcannia while also accounting for future climate variability.”

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