How important is the Gwydir River to Bingara?

January 30, 2015

Few would dispute that as far as tourism and development is concerned the ‘jewel in the crown’ for Bingara and District is the Gwydir River. Much of our promotion of Bingara over the last 25 years has featured “the river” as the main draw card.

Some folk still recall the “Come to Bingara” TV commercials of nearly twenty years ago. With the introduction of the two new TV channels into rural NSW, it was featuring the Gwydir River that gave Bingara a chance to portray itself as a beautiful part of the world to visit. Many folk still come back to Bingara and ‘the river’.

While the building of Copeton Dam during the 1960’s and ‘70’s brought an extra recreational boost with fishing and boating on the lake, many of the old timers have observed that ‘the river’ has not been the same since.

“The flows are too regulated!”
“The water released in summer is too cold!”
“The fish stocks have dwindled, since the dam was built!”

These are some of the observations and opinions of those who have known and watched the river.

So, just how does the Gwydir River get managed? Who makes the decisions of the water flows? Is there any scope to change the methods and the patterns of releases?

Perhaps some of these questions will be asked and answered at the Bingara and District Vision 20/20 Annual General Meeting to be held at the Imperial Hotel Conference Room at 6pm on Thursday, February 5.

“We have, as our guest speaker that evening, Mr Craig Cahill from Water NSW,” said V2020 President Philippa Morris.

“Craig is attending at the invitation of V2020 members who want to know more about the rules and regulations that apply to our major dams and the impacts that they have on the Gwydir River flows.

“Craig Cahill is Water Operations Manager (Northern). This position has the responsibility for managing the releases from the northern storages including Keepit, Split Rock, Chaffey, Copeton, Pindari and Glenlyon Dam.”

“We deliver water to the environment, town water supplies, stock and domestic purposes as well as for irrigation,” Craig explained.

“We undertake short term planning on how water will be delivered on a day to day basis as well as longer term planning including drought and flood operations.

“I have been employed with Water NSW for the past 11 years and have been involved within the water industry for just under 20 years. My current position for the next 6 months is Manager Water Operations which is responsible for management of water operations across the state of NSW.” Craig concluded.

The Vision 2020 AGM is open to all to attend whether a member or not. If you have any particular question you would like raised, please notify Philippa on 0488 490 579, or V2020 Secretary, Rick Hutton on 0428 255 380, beforehand, so that the meeting can be structured to get best value from Craig’s attendance.

Submitted by Rick Hutton – Bingara and District Vision 20/20 Secretary and Publicity Officer