Thursday 17 August 2017
Hansard of the Legislative Council
Cataract Gorge - Water Flow
Mr FINCH question to ACTING LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
- What measures does the Government intend to take to improve the water flow through Launceston's Cataract Gorge?
- If not, why not?
- Has the Government studied proposals for increasing water flow from Trevallyn Dam to a power station near the dam wall and then to a refurbished Duck Reach Power Station?
- Does the Government know why a Launceston City Council tender process for Duck Reach is apparently stalled?
Mr Acting President, I thank the member for Rosevears for his question.
- I am advised that Hydro Tasmania voluntarily releases a nominal 2.5 cubic metres per second flow down the Cataract Gorge. This is in excess of its legal requirements to release 0.425 cubic metres per second. Cataract Gorge flows have been at 2.5 cubic metres per second since 2011, which is achieving intended objectives for Cataract Gorge amenity. Significant work has gone into the flow regime over the last 15 years. In 2003, the flow was increased to 1.5 cubic metres per second as part of the Hydro Tasmania's South Esk Great Lake Water Management Review.
In 2011, the flow increased to 2.5 cubic metres per second after an extensive review in 2009‑11. Further work is currently progressing on considering recreational releases through the gorge.
- As indicated, Hydro Tasmania is progressing potential recreational releases, but otherwise no other release increase is being considered. Releases from Trevallyn Dam come at a significant opportunity cost to Hydro Tasmania and any further release would need to ensure there is an appropriate value for those releases.
- As part of Hydro Tasmania's environmental flow review in 2009-11, Hydro Tasmania assessed the feasibility of installing a mini hydro at Duck Reach to take advantage of the voluntary flows in Cataract Gorge. The outcome of the assessment was that it is not economically feasible for Hydro Tasmania to pursue. Hydro Tasmania has not received any formal proposals for a Duck Reach redevelopment. Hydro Tasmania is aware that the Launceston City Council is progressing an expression of interest process for the refurbishment of the Duck Reach Power Station; however, Hydro Tasmania has not been directly involved in that process.
Hydro Tasmania was approached by a third party with which it discussed the concept of a mini hydro project at the base of Trevallyn Dam. It has since been determined that the concept design would have a negative impact on Hydro Tasmania's assets and financial returns.
- The Launceston City Council is the owner of Duck Reach Power Station. Hydro Tasmania has not received any formal information from Launceston City Council on the status of its tender process and has no direct role in the tender process.
The Department of State Growth has also advised it has not been involved with this process and is not aware of reasons for the delays in the Launceston City Council process.