The Federal Government has approved Hydro Tasmania’s planned upgrades to Edgar Dam in southwest Tasmania.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s office confirmed that the Edgar Dam upgrades would not significantly impact the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) or other nationally significant environmental matters, provided the work follows specific guidelines.

This decision came after the project was reviewed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Department of Climate Change, the Environment, Energy and Water (DCCEEW) determined the Edgar Dam works were ‘not a controlled action – particular manner’, acknowledging Hydro Tasmania’s environmental controls and deciding no further assessments or conditions were necessary.

Hydro Tasmania’s Executive General Manager of Assets and Infrastructure, Jesse Clark, announced that the decision allows work to begin later this year. “It’s great to get to this point after several years of design, planning, approvals, and community consultation,” Clark said. The tender process for specialist construction services will now proceed, with work expected to span over two summers.

Environmental controls include:

  • Limiting truck movements within the TWWHA to daylight hours to reduce wildlife impact
  • Thoroughly washing vehicles before entering and exiting the site
  • Importing materials from an accredited quarry
  • Minimizing the site footprint and vegetation clearing

Edgar Dam is adjacent to the Lake Edgar Fault Line, initially believed to be inactive. However, recent investigations confirmed the fault could not be considered inactive. The upgrades will include new downstream gravel filters and rock fill to support the existing dam, enhancing its seismic resistance in the unlikely event of a major earthquake, according to national guidelines.

The Edgar Dam is part of the Gordon-Pedder Hydro Scheme, which provides crucial multi-seasonal storage and 13 percent of Tasmania’s renewable energy.