The debate surrounding a dam northeast of Canowindra on the Belubula River has gained momentum as the race for the seat of Calare draws closer to a conclusion.
Feasibility studies and a cost benefit analysis have yet to determine the viability of the site but Belubula River Alliance representative Harry Burkitt said candidates seeking election should consider the region's natural assets and claimed the dam would deny farmers access to water downstream of the development.
“One of the most significant natural heritage sites in the valley is Cliefden Caves,” he said.
"New technologies such as stormwater water harvesting, aquifer recharge and potable reuse are emerging as more sustainable alternatives to dam building, and need also be considered.”
Labor candidate for Calare Jess Jennings said he needed to see a full environmental impact statement and cost benefit analysis before he could support the project.
“I understand that the geological stability of the area is not great and I have doubts whether there will ever be a successful dam put in place there,” he said.
Greens candidate Delanie Sky said she did not condone the development and the development would put pressure on an already-stressed Lachlan River system.
“This affects the downstream communities’ access to water for town supply, agriculture, tourism and industry,” she said.
Nick Xenophon Team candidate Rod Bloomfield said more information was needed about the project, but conceded there were strong arguments on both sides.
“We also need to ensure that the funds required to construct the dam do not soak up much needed funds for future generations over the next 25 years,” he said.
Nationals candidate Andrew Gee urged detractors not to judge the project until the feasibility study was completed.
“Nobody knows how that is going to turn out, so to dismiss the proposal out of hand before we've even seen the results of the feasibility study isn't the responsible approach,” he said.