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Friends of Waratah Reservoir Submit Appeal

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FRIENDS OF WARATAH RESERVOIR APPEAL Introduction: During the submission period from 10 January to 1 February, some 14 submissions were made by community members of the Friends of the Waratah Reservoir Group to the relevant DPIPWE individual Bill Shackcloth. This appeal to the decision on 30 March to proceed with the decommissioning is a composite […]




During the submission period from 10 January to 1 February, some 14 submissions were made by community members of the Friends of the Waratah Reservoir Group to the relevant DPIPWE individual Bill Shackcloth.

This appeal to the decision on 30 March to proceed with the decommissioning is a composite of all those submissions and is agreed by all of those who submitted.

The content herein is broken down into relevant sections for ease of understanding = human health, technical, environmental, fire safety, economic, legal and heritage.

Human Health:

There are four risk assessments, which refer to human health and life which need to be conducted by independent consultants to the satisfaction of the statutory monitoring authority. Those need interventions to be enacted by the relevant Minister: (See attached)

1.       Waratah’s bushfire threat exposure

2.       Poisons potentially sequestered by the black sediment in the bottom of the reservoir which present risks to human life and health, if the reservoir is drained and those toxins enter the drinking water of Waratah. Thorough testing is needed.

3.       Mine drainage remaining undiluted presenting a risk to the health and lives of bushwalkers during dry summers.

4.       Sewage outfall will not be diluted during dry summers. This presents an infection risk to bushwalkers during dry summers.

Those interventions cannot be enacted during the caretaker period. In the interest of non-preferential justice, dam-destruction permits granted to TasWater need to be revoked until the relevant ministers have their full jurisdiction (re)installed.

In addition, a number of the submissions, noted the importance of the retention of the dam to the health and wellbeing of the Waratah community. In this time of the COVID pandemic this is even more important and a fundamental plank of the election campaign by all parties and independents. This must not be ignored by those responsible for the appeal consideration.

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A number of submissions provided extensive reviews of the ‘engineering’ assumptions outlined by TasWater in a variety of platforms, including community meetings.

This included disputation of commentary relating to dam wall safety, piping, flood forecasts,

The disparity in views demands that an independent survey be conducted asap by Qualified Tasmanian dam engineers


The submissions included a plethora of input regarding the impact the decommissioning would have on endangered and protected species who are reliant on the retention of the reservoir at its original volume and height.

This included platypus, rakali, astacopsis species, sea eagle, trout .

In this world of extensive climate change the dereliction of environmental management by the responsible Ministers is clearly unacceptable and cannot be allowed by the Appeal Tribunal.

A detailed environmental plan will need to be formulated if decommissioning goes ahead and we propose that penalties should apply the same as mining on any animal and bird deaths such as Devil $40,000, Eagle $30,000, Platypus $20,000 and this plan be made available to the community

Fire Safety:

Arguably the most important category and one continuously refuted by TasWater in every forum.

Perhaps the best summary of the issue is included in this Tasmanian Times article

Burn Waratah Burn – Tasmanian Times

This material is a compilation of FACTS provided by local TFS Volunteers and based on actuality not the theoretical views espoused by TasWater.

Since this was written a further incident occurred near Luina which emulated in many ways the actions that occurred in the TT article.

This is clearly unacceptable and once again given the increasing occurrences of wildfire due climate change cannot be ignored.

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Perhaps the most important of the issues.

Tourism in the town is predicated on the existence of the reservoir and the associated town lakes, weir and of course the waterfall.

Removal of the dam wall at considerable cost, including remediation of the mudflats is indeed considerable but pales in significance with the destruction of the economic future of the town.

The only way water level in the top pond where the water plant is situated is by an old wooden weir under the foot bridge which is in an incredibly sad state of condition.

If this fails in summer, we will be left with no water in town and no way to refill the pond quickly which leaves the town extremely vulnerable.

In addition, the culvert that runs under the road near Fagans workshop is not designed to handle the predicted flood flows so will encounter overtopping resulting in washouts and damage to the main road through town (council infrastructure).

This needs to be addressed by both the Council and TasWater.

The cost of rebulding the dam wall is stated by Shaw Contracting at $$1.6million – not the overblushed version of TasWater of $3.6million.

For an added $800,000 a mini hydro could be constructed at the Old Powerhouse site and make a carbon positive town. Now that is REAL economics.

A further option, supported by NW Councils is

Longer term – but the benefits to the region and the state is unestimable.

All of the above should be supported by the relevant Minister.



Consideration must be made by the Appeal Tribunal as to why there is no ability of the submitters to be informed as to why their respective submissions have been ignored and why we have received no answers.

This is a legal process and appeals must be based on facts – you have given us NONE!

A resident has accordingly submitted a RTI to DPIPWE seeking full disclosure to the reasons why ALL submissions were rejected. A response to this RTI has not yet been received.

Furthermore, the entire process is being conducted while the Government is in Caretaker mode

Caretaker Mode and the Waratah Dam Decommissioning – Tasmanian Times

This contravenes all normality of the Westminster system and by itself refute any ability of TasWater, DPIPWE and the Minister to do anything – except reveal the truth and uphold our appeal.


The Tasmanian Times Articles above in part describe the importance of the Reservoir to the history of the area and its contribution to the well-being of the State.

No need to add to those descriptions other than to suggest any responsible Government/Minister should be incapable of ignoring this fundamental issue and its relevance to the tourism of the town.

Signed Chris Hawkins / President/ Friends of the Waratah Reservoir

Source: Tasmanian Times

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