Some days you wonder if decision makers in government and industry need a livable climate or clean water the way ordinary people do. If they drink, eat and wash, why do they persist in putting water supplies at risk?
CANWin’s focus is on climate, but we’re people who do drink, eat and wash, and we know that good water is critical to a good life. So we’re publishing this edited media release from Rivers SOS. It tells an interesting and troubling story.
Media Release, Rivers SOS, 16 September 2012
How our Water Supplies are being Sold Down the Drain
The NSW Irrigators’ Council is “profoundly disappointed.”
The Total Environment Centre says that “environmental protection has been reduced to lip service.”
And the CEO of CSG developer Metgasco says that this “sends a clear message that the NSW government is 100% behind the industry.” Indeed.
Despite pre-election promises, no part of NSW is protected from the extractive industries – not prime agricultural land, not tourist sites, not vineyards or horse studs, not river systems, drinking water catchments, aquifers, lakes or wetlands. The promised “ring-fencing” of valuable areas didn’t happen.
Rivers SOS is concerned with the protection of NSW’s water resources, and we object to the fact that the Aquifer Interference Policy does not lay down legally binding regulations. Huge volumes of groundwater to be sucked from aquifers during CSG extraction will just be “licensed and accounted for” not disallowed.
Professor Craig Simmons, Australia’s representative on UNESCO’s groundwater governance programme, observes that “humanity is extracting groundwater much faster than it is naturally replaced”. The rate of extraction has doubled since 1960. “Most countries and local regions are now extracting water unsustainably” (The Land, 9.1.12). Under this new regime it is set to escalate in NSW.
The NSW Office of Water will “assess” the potential impact of proposals that will impact aquifers. “Expert advice” can be obtained from a Commonwealth Independent Scientific Committee. “Independent” Planning Assessment Commission panels of “experts” will consider placing conditions on a “Gateway certificate” for sensitive applications.