Hydro Tasmania has received approval from the Federal Government to begin upgrading the Edgar Dam in Tasmania’s southwest.  

The office of Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, confirmed that the works will not have significant impact on the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) or other matters of national environmental significance provided that the action is undertaken in the particular manner set out in the decision. 

The decision follows consideration of the works under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. 

The federal Department of Climate Change, the Environment, Energy and Water (DCCEEW) determined the works ‘not a controlled action – particular manner’, accepting Hydro Tasmania’s specific environmental controls and deeming no further assessment, or conditions are necessary. 

Hydro Tasmania Assets and Infrastructure Executive General Manager, Jesse Clark, said that the decision paves the way for works to commence later in 2024.  

“It’s great to get to this point after several years of design, planning, approvals and community consultation,” Mr Clark said. 

“We’ll now conduct a tender process for specialist construction services to deliver the works over two summers.” 

Environmental controls put forward by Hydro Tasmania include: 

  • Restricting truck movements within the TWWHA to daylight hours to minimise impacts to wildlife 
  • Washing vehicles thoroughly before entering and exiting the site 
  • Importing materials from a commercially accredited quarry 
  • Keeping the site footprint and vegetation clearing to a minimum 

Edgar Dam is adjacent to the Lake Edgar Fault Line, which was thought to be inactive at the time of construction. After extensive investigation, experts determined the fault could not be considered inactive. 

Upgrade works will include new downstream gravel filters and rock fill will support the existing dam. This will improve seismic resistance of the dam, in the extremely unlikely event of a major earthquake, in line with national guidelines. 

Image: Devaka Seneviratne/ 

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