There are significant environmental, cultural, social and economic costs of building dams. This is because the water that would have gone down the river is captured and no longer available for many of dependent environmental, cultural, social and economic values. The Mole River Dam, the Dungowan Dam, enlargement of Wyangala Dam and the re-regulating weir on the Macquarie River and Western weirs are all designed to capture water. This water is then regulated. It is then available for distribution, primarily for irrigation, although sometimes for town water supply as in the Western weirs.
Most of these new projects will have the effect of taking water from the rivers. They will exacerbate the loss of floodplain forests. They will increase the incidences of blue-green algal blooms and salinity in rivers. They will ensure that more floodplain graziers will have their livelihoods affected as a result of reduced flooding. They will increase the impacts on species already severely under pressure, such as platypus. They will also increase the impacts on 9 downstream urban communities. Some downstream towns will have their water security reduced not improved by these new projects. It is the water that will be captured in the Dungowan Dam and the Mole River Creek Dam that would have gone down the Darling River and supplied traditional owner communities living in towns like Menindee and Wilcannia. Water captured in the enlargement of Wyangala Dam on the Lachlan River would have flowed down to supply the graziers of the Booligal Creek, Lower Lachlan and Cumbung system, an extensive floodplain already severely impacted by historical allocations and large dams.
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