A PUSH by Griffith councillor Dino Zappacosta to divert water from the Clarence River across the Great Dividing Range left a sour taste in a politician who represents the area’s mouth.
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis made it clear he does not support the plan.
He told the Grafton Daily Examiner the district could buy the water in 600ml bottles at $2.20 a pop.
“That’s about the only way I see Clarence River water ending up in Griffith,” Mr Gulaptis said.
Councillor Zappacosta outlined the plan to divert 1000 gigalitres of water from the Clarence into the Darling River basin.
He told The Area News the bid was supported by Bourke Shire Council.
Mr Gulaptis compared the plan to the furore over a proposal to build a mega port at Yamba.
"They're both pie in the sky things that are never going to happen," he said.
The Clarence River Diversion, originally mooted in the early 1980s by engineer David Coffey and buried by the Hawke government, was resurrected by Griffith councillor Dino Zappacosta and the Build More Dams committee.
Cr Zappacosta said he was pleased Bourke council was supporting their campaign for state and federal governments to carry out a feasibility study.
The scheme, if it went ahead, would see a number of dams built high in the Clarence River catchment, west of Grafton. From there, collected rainwater would run through the Great Dividing Range in an 80-kilometre tunnel and flow into the Dumaresq River before eventually finding its way into the Darling River.
Cr Zappacosta said it was a better way to permanently solve Broken Hill’s water situation than NSW Premier Mike Baird’s proposed $500 million pipeline and it would also alleviate Murrumbidgee irrigators’ water woes by taking the load off the river.
“There would be a direct benefit to users of Murrumbidgee water and that would flow on to the communities of Griffith and beyond,” he said. Cr Zappacosta has written to other councils west of the Great Dividing Range about the scheme and it’s on the agenda for the upcoming Western Division Councils’ meeting.