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Thursday, 27 September 1973
Page: 1612

Mr SINCLAIR - I direct a question to the Minister for Minerals and Energy. What were the industrial demands that Mr Douglas, the Chief Operational Engineer of the Snowy Mountains Council, conveyed to him on Saturday afternoon? What reply did the Minister give on that Sunday afternoon telephone call? Is it not a fact that the problem of flooding to which he referred earlier began about a fortnight or 10 days ago and not last weekend?

Mr CONNOR - I can quote from a minute which I received yesterday.

Mr Whittorn - Table it.

Mr CONNOR - Yes, I will be very pleased to table it, too. It is from Mr Reiher, the Deputy Chairman of the Snowy Mountains Council, acting in the absence overseas of Sir Lenox Hewitt. This is what he said -

Mr Peacock - What date?

Mr CONNOR - It is dated 26 September. He said:

A special meeting of the Snowy Mountains Council was held this morning in Canberra, and it considered the question of control of water in the .Lower Tumut below Blowering Reservoir.

This meeting was convened at short notice last week, because of a situation which had arisen with the filling of Blowering Reservoir by, consistently high energy demands from the Electricity Commission of New South Wales over the past several months.

The position has been reached when water is spilling from the reservoir and flow limitations in the Lower Tumut River were becoming a serious restraint on the flexibility of the scheme and its capacity to meet further energy demands from New Souh Wales. Approximately 11,800 acre feet of water have been spilled from the reservoir since it commenced to overflow last Saturday.

That is the answer to the honourable member's question. The minute continues:

Irrespective of the industrial action directed at the Tumut Power Stations of the Snowy Mountains system by the hydroplant operators of the Electricity Commission of New South Wales during the past several days, responsible management of water at Blowering Reservoir required curtailment of energy production from the Tumut system.

At its meeting today, the Council set down operational guidelines which will have the effect of curtailing power production from the Tumut stations, so as to prevent flooding from the Tumut River below Blowering Reservoir except in situations where natural inflows cannot be fully controlled by the water storages of the system.

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