Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Snowy Hydro 2 – not so great

“The operating rules for Snowy Hydro 2 pump storage will no doubt require large amounts of exclusively stored water for power generation during droughts, even if the farmers downstream miss out on their allocations,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Snowy Hydro 2 won’t change rainfall, evaporation and runoff statistics.  With climate change is upon us there will be less water available as rainfall becomes more variable and snowfalls cease.  The big water battery will become controversial when dam’s start to run empty and irrigators demand water stored for hydroelectricity”, said Mr Muir.

Environmental impacts on Kosciuszko National Park

“The Snowy 2 investigations have paid scant attention to professional management required for our only true alpine conservation area.  Forty exploratory drill sites, associated roads and drill ponds are already impacting on the national park and yet there has been no public scrutiny of these damaging activities”, said Mr Muir.

“Tangangara Dam is a part of the proposed scheme but has only 254,099 ML of storage capacity and surely must be enlarged if it is to play an effective role in providing water for 2000MW of power.  As water is pumped to and fro this dam’s enlarged footprint will become an eroding, denuded eyesore with large bare areas of what was formerly pristine parkland”, Mr Muir said. 

“I also fear that the Snowy 2 project will see water stored for power generation instead of going to adequate environmental flows for the Snowy and the Murray rivers.  Environmental flows are always the first sacrifice in an over allocated system”, he said.  

Headlines before proper assessment of pump storage opportunities

“It is disappointing that practically every politician has hastily thrown in their lot with the Snowy 2 proposal, that will further damage an important national park.  The Federal Government should have ranked every potential pump storage hydro site across Australia, and commissioned feasibility studies for the best sites.  If that ranking were done, the Snowy Scheme 2 may have proven more expensive in terms of environmental impacts and dollars relative to other pump storage options, but we will never know,” Mr Muir said.

“Billions of dollars have been promised to just one proposal, made in haste to fit a political debate, and that is a poor way to invest our common wealth,” he said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)


Selected references and commentary on Snowy 2 for discussion on water share allocations

The PM’s recent media release on Snowy2

Forty drilling sites in national park as Snowy Hydro 2.0 plan gathers pace by John Ellicott in The Land 11 Jul 2017, About 40 drilling sites will be selected along the planned tunnel route from Tantangara Dam to Talbingo reservoir.

Experts Weigh In On The Snowy Hydro Expansion Plans
blog with article by Rae Johnson, 28 August, 2017 on likely impacts of enlarging Tantangara Dam  on Snowy River environmental flows