Overflowing Hermitage Dam not the cause of damage to temporary roadway

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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Dear Editor,

The National Water Commission (NWC) wishes to put on public record that the recent overflow of the Hermitage Dam along the spillway and into the upper reaches of the Wag Water River is consistent with the operations of dams and what is expected to happen for the nearly 100 years since the run-of-the-river dam was built.

The public is reminded that, while for much of the year the severe drought conditions have caused the rivers serving the Hermitage Dam to go relatively dry, the cumulative effect of recent rainfall events would naturally cause these rivers to be restored to their normal wet season conditions or even to flood.

Thankfully, the Hermitage Dam is now full.

The heavy rains have resulted in increased flows in all the rivers, Moresham, Bore, and the Wag Water River on which the Hermitage Dam is situated. Hence, as is to be expected, any object placed in the river channels may indeed be affected by increased run-off. It is therefore mistaken to attribute any flooding of temporary road structures in the Wag Water River channel to the overflowing of the Hermitage Dam and not to increased run-off related to recent rains.

As citizens, we often forget or ignore the real cause of the problems now being experienced by the citizens of Airy Castle, Bowden Hill and surrounding areas. On Sunday, February 17, 2019 the Airy Castle Road bridge collapsed as a result of excessive loading by haulage trucks. The NWC's two raw water pipes anchored on the bridge were damaged as a result of this indiscipline act. Not only were communities cut off, but water supply services were immediately disrupted. NWC teams had to work day and night for an entire week to restore service to over 2,000 of our valued customers affected by this act of recklessness by those persons involved.

Too often, as a public, we are quick to attribute blame, but never intervene to prevent acts of recklessness even when such behaviour is to the detriment of our own peace of mind and comfort of movement as occurred at Airy Castle.

Notwithstanding the negative impact of such indiscipline to NWC operations, we understood the plight of the communities, hence the donated concrete culverts for the temporary roadway to allow citizens to move to and from the communities affected.

It is our hope that the new bridge will be in place soon and normality restored to the communities. However, we must also emphasise that acts of indiscipline continue to cost us dearly as a country and more specifically as a utility. We as citizens must act responsibly.

National Water Commission


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