2002 – Warragamba Dam Auxiliary Spillway – Working with the Community

Pieter van Breda, Alison White, and Greg Carmody

Site works on the $150 million Warragamba Dam Auxiliary Spillway project commenced in March 1999 and were completed in June 2002. Successful interaction with the local community, to achieve an equitable outcome, has been a feature of the communications strategy for the project.

The Auxiliary Spillway is located close to the village of Warragamba, a township of approximately 2,000 residents. The closest residence is about 200 metres from the site. The EIS and subsequent planning documents identified key localised environmental impacts that the project would impose. The main concern of local residents, including a local action group, was the impact on their amenity during construction of the Auxiliary Spillway, particularly in relation to noise, vibration, dust and traffic.

The conditions of approval for the project included a range of communication activities, of which the formation of a Community Liaison Committee (CLC) with an independent Chairperson was a key component. When the membership of the CLC was established the Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) and chairperson agreed that it needed to fully represent the local community – and therefore included community representatives from Warragamba and two nearby villages, the Chamber of Commerce, the local action group, the local school, local council, the dam owner (SCA) and the project manager (AWT P/L).

The establishment of the CLC has proven to be very successful. It has been the voice of the community, with responsibility to act on behalf of the community and to keep them informed of progress on the project. When issues arose during the construction, the CLC were briefed on the particular matter. The CLC was instrumental in resolving these community issues and has allowed this $150 million civil project to proceed without community attributed delays.

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