Coffs Harbour City Council

05 January 2020


Extraordinary Council Meeting


The above meeting will be held in the Council Administration Building

Cnr Coff and Castle Streets, Coffs Harbour on:


Monday, 13 January 2020


The meeting commences at 5.00pm and your attendance is requested.





1.         Opening of Extraordinary Meeting

2.         Acknowledgment of Country

3.         Disclosure of Interest

4.         Apologies

5.         Leaves of Absence

6.         Notice of Motion – Sustainable Infrastructure

7.         Close of Extraordinary Meeting



Steve McGrath

General Manager



Order of Business



Notices of Motion Sustainable Infrastructure

NOM20/01      Woolgoolga Dam Water Licence................................................................... 3   

NOM20/01   Woolgoolga Dam Water Licence

Attachments:          Nil



Councillors Knight, Swan, Amos, Adendorff and Cecato have given notice of their intention to move the following:

"That Coffs Harbour City Council:

1.   As a matter of urgency make application to the NSW Department of Primary Industry and Environment to amend the “purpose” for which the Water Access Licence (WAL) No. 36672 and Approval number 30CA308020 in respect of Woolgoolga Dam are held such that the Licence and Approval allow the permitted use to include agriculture / irrigation.

2.   In pursuing the change in purpose mentioned in point 1 above, Council authorise equitable access, in accordance with Council’s current Fees and Charges, to the agricultural / irrigation sector of up to 100 megalitres (approximately 45% of current water volume) of the water resource in Woolgoolga Dam, this to be achieved with relevant access controls in place;

3.   In light of the emergency nature of this matter, Council will review the allocation and supply arrangement on 31 March 2020;

4.   Undertake a community information/awareness program to provide relevant information to the community."



“NSW and Australia for that matter is in the grip of a significant drought and it is fair to suggest that the Coffs Harbour Region is currently in a dire situation as a result of the drought.  Whilst the town water supply is in a somewhat enviable situation with approximately 80% capacity in the Karangi and Shannon Creek Dams, the agricultural sector is not so fortunate, with impacts on stock, produce, employment and long term livelihood.

The Woolgoolga Dam, as a water supply asset, was rendered redundant as a water supply asset by the construction of Shannon Creek Dam and expansion of Karangi Dam.  The Woolgoolga Dam currently has approximately 225 megalitres (83% capacity) of raw water which has no tangible use from a town water supply aspect.

Given the drought impacts currently being experienced by the agricultural sector and the flow on impacts to the broader community/economy, it would seem entirely appropriate to extend the purpose for which the Woolgoolga Dam resource can be used to include agricultural / irrigation.”

Staff Comment:

Staff are preparing a draft Change in Use application which can be submitted to the relevant State authorities should the Motion be resolved in the positive.

Staff would propose to enact the following operational structures and processes should a water supply from Woolgoolga Dam ultimately be enabled:

1.   The 100ML (Megalitre) limit proposed by the Notice of Motion (NOM) can be monitored by the use of Smart Meters, which would be connected to each pumping outlet from Woolgoolga Dam. Each meter is able to be continuously monitored remotely in order to manage total outtake as it occurs and to ensure the selected limit is not exceeded.

2.   The equitable distribution, as requested in the NOM, can be managed by development of a water sharing register and allocating finite volumes of water to each user via Raw Water Access Licences. Actual quantities of water delivered by commercial carriers to each licensed end-user will be recorded by commercial carriers into a log book. That log book will be reported to Council by the commercial carrier. Council staff can utilise the log book data along with smart meter data to monitor the total quantity being accessed by each user and intervene as required to ensure all recipients are accessing their licenced allocation only.

3.   Control of transport movements and times of access will be managed by staff as follows:

3.1. Water Access Point 1 – Newmans Road (vicinity of the RFS Station). Given that this filling point is in the closest proximity to residential premises it is proposed that access times will initially be limited to the hours of 7am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 12 noon Saturday. Staff will respond to community and user feedback on the operation of this site to identify and change process as indicated.

3.2. Water Access Point 2 – Solitary Islands Way. Given the nature of the local area in the vicinity of this area it is proposed that access times will not be initially restricted. Staff will respond to community and user feedback on the operation of this site to identify and change process as indicated.

4.   Amenity and Visual Impacts – The extraction of 100ML (44%) of the water currently in Woolgoolga Dam will reduce the water depth from 9.7m to 7.0m (28%) and will reduce the dams surface area from 5.2Ha to 3.6Ha (30%). The disproportional relationship between volume end depth/area is ‘conical’ Dam shape.

5.   Environmental Risk Mitigation measures are primarily dealt with by limiting the amount of water extracted to only the 100ML quantity proposed in the NOM. Staff had previously commissioned an external Environmental Study for the purposes of identifying the environmental impacts of reducing the water levels in Woolgoolga Dam. The report information supports the extraction of 100ML (particularly section 5.2.3 – Option 2 Partial Dewatering) which recommends that habitat diversity can be maximised by maintaining a minimum 2m water depth in the dam. Following the removal of 100ML as proposed in the NOM, the water depth in the dam will be approximately 7m, this greatly exceeds the recommended 2m depth required to maximise habit diversity.  A copy of the Environmental Report has been uploaded into Councillors Diligent Resource.