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The Cotter Dam Enlargement – where will the Dam Wall stop, and what about the picnic area?

By Peter Holland - 11 August 2008 42

I was watching the telly last night, and the ad for ACTEWAGL came on, talking about the need to increase the dam size. It takes a while to sink in with me, and I have watched this ad several times, but it only just made it through the “switch off – its an ad…”

Where will the dam wall end?

Will the picnic area remain, or will it be buried under the wall?

Important stuff – best place to go in summer, seems to remain fairly cool in summer at that spot, and I would hate to lose it to a dam.

As would my daughter – she has only just found the playground….

What’s Your opinion?


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42 Responses to
The Cotter Dam Enlargement – where will the Dam Wall stop, and what about the picnic area?
andym 8:11 am 12 Aug 08

Actually its three new dams. Main dam and two saddle dams.

http://img504.imageshack.us/img504/5672/newcotterdamey3.jpg

Pesty 8:04 am 12 Aug 08

RuffnReady said :

Assuming that this new dam will alleviate the need for continued water restrictions is naive – an extended dam doesn’t change the quantity of rain that falls! Notice that even though we are in a La Nina and experiencing a relatively wet winter, the quantity of water in our dams has not increased significantly. That is a mismatch between consumption and rainfall (and catchment agreements made to allow water to pass downstream into the Murray system), not a dam capacity issue.

The dam is about increasing the capacity of the Canberra water supply system to account for a larger city and longer droughts – whether that capacity is utilised (ie. the water falls from the sky) is another matter. In the new weather paradigm, cities need storage for more than 3 years of drought, we’d just better hope that enough rain falls to fill that dam capacity… or be more rational about our consumption of water in a dry region and use less.

Well said, last I saw the dams were still well under 50% full. Winter is almost over, unless the spring is extra wet it’s not a good start to the warm seasons. You can build the dams as big as you like, but if they don’t get filled up, you may as well not bother.

Mælinar - *spoiler 7:55 am 12 Aug 08

So they are replacing the playground with a pool. Whoop-de-do.

RuffnReady 11:39 pm 11 Aug 08

Assuming that this new dam will alleviate the need for continued water restrictions is naive – an extended dam doesn’t change the quantity of rain that falls! Notice that even though we are in a La Nina and experiencing a relatively wet winter, the quantity of water in our dams has not increased significantly. That is a mismatch between consumption and rainfall (and catchment agreements made to allow water to pass downstream into the Murray system), not a dam capacity issue.

The dam is about increasing the capacity of the Canberra water supply system to account for a larger city and longer droughts – whether that capacity is utilised (ie. the water falls from the sky) is another matter. In the new weather paradigm, cities need storage for more than 3 years of drought, we’d just better hope that enough rain falls to fill that dam capacity… or be more rational about our consumption of water in a dry region and use less.

BenMac 9:56 pm 11 Aug 08

Agreed with #8,9 and 10. A playground can be moved, and the construction and trucks will eventually go. I think storing more water for an ever increasing population is more important.

Thumper 8:07 pm 11 Aug 08

I love the Cotter as well, but it’s not difficult to move the recreation area further downstream to accomodate the new dam.

sexynotsmart 7:52 pm 11 Aug 08

I totally love the Cotter picnic area too! But I don’t mind it being inaccessible for a couple of summers if the end result is more stored water.

I mean perpetual Stage 4 or 5 restrictions versus using Pine Island or Tidbindilla for a while… it’s a no-brainer for mine.

Thumper 7:47 pm 11 Aug 08

I think I’d rather the water than a playground.

Simple choice really

iCanberran 6:55 pm 11 Aug 08

Sadly, the existing dam will be completely submerged by the new dam, to be located further down stream. The TV commercial shows the original dam wall to the left of a CGI animation of a new dam, followed by an animation of water submerging the existing dam.

You can get all the info here: http://www.actew.com.au/WaterSecurity/MajorProjects/enlarging_cotter_dam.aspx

teepee 6:54 pm 11 Aug 08

I’ve wondered about this and tried to look it up. I can’t tell either way, but it is clear that the water body is pretty close to the recreational area.

What worries me most is that ACTEW hasn’t definitively said that they will preserve the recreational area. I heard something on the news a couple of months ago which seemed to imply that there was ambiguity over the situation – it was deliberately dodgy wording by some ACTEW spokesman.

ACTEW seem to be the new B*stards incorporated arm of the ACT Government. Notice how the TV ads are attempting to repair their damaged reputation in the wake of the power station fiasco.

hallenbeck 6:12 pm 11 Aug 08

Yes, but think about how are they going to build this dam extension? The wall itself may not extend into the picnic/recreation area, but the construction process will have to. Trucks, heavy machinery, earth-moving equipment, all using our favourite scenic Cotter Rd day in day out for the duration of the build. This alone will take its toll on that tired old road. Access to the site for something of this magnitude will surely be making use of the recreation area. Certainly I’m in favour of forward planning and the development of Cotter Dam for the future, its a significant asset for the region and should be maximised, but it will be at a loss to the Cotter as we know it today.

Danman 5:28 pm 11 Aug 08

There ya go – so its really a dam enlargement – the impression that the advertisement gives is that they were going to reinforce and extend the existing dam wall…. Wouldn’t it be cool to walk across the new dam on the old dam wall and appear to be walking on water 🙂

Spectra 5:19 pm 11 Aug 08

Actually, last I checked, the plan was to build a whole new wall (extending an existing one not designed for the increased capacity would be more trouble than it’s worth) just a little bit downstream (thus simply flooding over the top of the existing wall). If you’re asking about the picnic area next to where the pub used to be, as far as I know that’s going to be untouched by the dam itself (though they’re talking about taking the opportunity “to coincide the dam construction activities with remediation to the Cotter precinct”, whatever that may mean).

Mr Evil 5:18 pm 11 Aug 08

No, a whole new dam is being constructed some distance in front of the existing 1915 dam.

I’m guessing it will have no impact on the Cotter picnic area, but I’m sure if it did, then Labor would be very open to public consultation on the issue. 😉

Danman 5:12 pm 11 Aug 08

Which picnic area do you refer to ?
If you mean Cotter reserve, I guess that would be fine, because its downstream of the dam.
I am guessing that the dam wall will be extended in height allowing the capture of more water so its safe to say that depending on how much higher the dam wall goes, there will be x meters of vertical shoreline that will now be underwater…..

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