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CSIRO to conduct independent review into far north coast water security

The NSW Government has engaged Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), to review options being considered in the Far North Coast Regional Water Strategy, a long- term blueprint for water security for the region and support the management of healthy rivers, communities, industries and the environment over the coming decades.

CSIRO will provide independent advice with a focus on reviewing water management options proposed in the Far North Coast Regional Water Strategy in the broader context of flood risk management, particularly for the city of Lismore, river health and water security.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the Far North Coast faces a complex set of challenges and the review will form part of the evidence base for the final Strategy.

“The CSIRO’s expert review will help us put forward the best possible mix of infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions for the region,” Mrs Pavey said.

“We’re exploring new dams, storages and pipeline options, desalination, water efficiency, additional groundwater schemes and recycled water options, among many other diverse and innovative solutions highlighted in the draft strategy published last year.”

Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Premier and for Water Infrastructure, Sam Farraway said the Far North Coast is one of the most biodiverse regions in Australia with more than a third of water extraction used for town water supply, and we need to plan now to boost resilience, protect against future drought and support opportunities for economic development in the region.

“The strategy will put forward solutions to the Far North Coast’s water challenges. This independent review will assist the community, council and water utilities in developing the first-ever long-term plan,” Mr Farraway said.

“All options are on the table and the CSIRO will be providing an independent review of the Regional Water Strategy considering the complex future needs of our Far North Coast communities.”

Mr Farraway said the review will look at a range of water storage and delivery options which appear in the draft Far North Coast Regional Water Strategy. These include options such as connecting Toonumbar Dam to augment town water supplies, the use of recycled stormwater and waste water, groundwater access and a new dam at Dunoon, to secure water supply and improve flood mitigation and river health.

The draft Far North Coast Regional Water Strategy went on public exhibition in late 2020. The shortlisted options will be put on public exhibition in the coming months, and the community will be invited to have its say before the Strategy is finalised.

Aerial photo of Brunswick River picnic area, Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve.
Aerial photo of Brunswick River picnic area, Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve.