GREG'S LEGACY

Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Benalla flood risk cover up continues

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Goulburn Murray Water (GMW)have refused another request under the Freedom of Information Act for information on flood risks due to changed operating rules for Lake Nillahcootie associated with the decommissioning of Lake Mokoan according to Nationals MP for Benalla, Bill Sykes.

This follows on from GMW’s refusal to agree to two separate requests for the information on the operation of Lake Nillahcootie and Lake Mokoan in relation to reducing the risks of flood to Benalla and downstream.

The most recent knock back relates to a request for information on the increased risk of the secondary spillway coming into operation as a result of Lake Nillahcootie being run full rather than having air space available during winter and spring to absorb heavy run off.

The secondary spillway is an earthen construction about two metres deep by 100metres wide which is designed to let go to save the main dam wall in the event of excessively rapid inflows to an already full Lake Nillahcootie.

Dr Sykes said, “If the secondary spillway “goes” there will be a wall of water rushing down the Broken with potentially very serious flooding.

“Questions about the management of Glenmaggie Weir in the recent Gippsland floods make it even more important for the risks to be made public.

“Apparently, water was not released from Glenmaggie Weir to create an air space in anticipation of the wall of water which was about to hit. [The reason given has been “The weir hadn’t reached a level at which water is allowed to be released!”].

Dr Sykes continued, “The reasons given by GMW for refusing to release the information are “endangering security” and “contrary to public interest”.

“I cannot believe that GMW (and GBCMA who have previously refused to provide the information) can continue to withhold information which is clearly in the publics’ interest.

“If there is no increased flood risk as repeatedly claimed by GMW & GBCMA, then they can win people’s confidence by making the base information available. On the other hand, if there is (as many people suspect) a significant increase in flood risk then decommissioning of Lake Mokoan must not proceed and a mini Lake Mokoan must be supported as it would provide ongoing flood risk protection as well as water savings and security of water supply for irrigators.”

Dr Sykes concluded, “As one very angry local said, “When this is all over, there will be a day of reckoning and those who have withheld the truth, peddled half truths and lies will be called to account.”

“In the meantime, I will continue my pursuit of the truth in the interest of communities of Benalla and the Broken Valley.”

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Written by Greg Naylor

9 July 2007 at 4:55 pm

Posted in media release

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