A last-minute move by the New South Wales government has given mining companies access to water in Sydney’s drinking water catchment, alarming environmental activists.
In a Gazette sent five days before the NSW Legislative Assembly adjourned, Water Minister Kevin Anderson granted new permits to mining companies around Sydney to allow them to trade water resources from Sydney’s drinking water catchment. bottom.
This directive was sent to the Board of Water NSW.
The Gazette said jointly applying for trade water quotas to specific mining companies under certain circumstances “is necessary to give direction to Water NSW in the public interest”.
This direction covers the Wollonora and Metropolitan Territories of Sydney’s drinking water catchment.
Environmental activists say the directive is a cynical move ahead of the March 25 NSW elections and a transition to the El Niño cycle.
“Coal mines in the basin have effectively taken water illegally without proper water rights for years,” said Nick Clyde, coordinator of the anti-mining group Rock the Gate Alliance. rice field.
“This is planned by the New South Wales Government to put a rubber stamp on its actions and allow it to continue unhindered.
“The risks to our water supply as we begin to transition into the El Niño cycle are immense. Our precious urban water supply should not be wasted on destructive coal mines. ”
Green Party lawmaker Kate Furman said Anderson’s decision acknowledged the impact coal mining had had on Sydney’s watersheds.
“But instead of acting to protect our water supply, they are fixing decades of water loss at a time when there is less water to sustain a growing population. ‘, Faehrmann said on Friday.
But Anderson said the decision confirms that mines located in Sydney’s drinking water catchment need to consider the incidental surface water they mine.
If sufficient quota is not available, WaterNSW will not be required to trade with the mines.
“This is in response to an issue raised by an independent panel of experts on mining in watersheds during their review of the impacts of mining activities in the special area,” he told the AAP in a statement.
“It is important that these mines, like other water users, account for their water withdrawals and pay for this water management.
“This reform has been called for by environmental groups and an independent review board.”
The new trade rules will not affect water supplies to Sydney, he said.
https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/state/nsw/sydney/2023/03/10/coal-mines-access-sydney-drinking-water/ Coal mine gains access to Sydney’s drinking water resources