Category Archives: Water security

Water supplies at risk

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?

Rivers SOS LogoCoal and coal seam gas (CSG) mining threaten both the global climate and our local water supply, but they’re not the only threats.

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

We concur with protests made by various groups about the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy and the Aquifer Interference Policy released last Tuesday by the O’Farrell government.

Some examples:
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.

Prof. Craig SimmonsProfessor 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.

Or not.
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“FLOW” to be Screened at Empire Cinema

On the evening of Thursday 5th November 2009 at 6.30pm members of the steering committee of the Australian Water Network (AWN) will screen the award winning documentary FLOW (For Love of Water). The evening will be an informative fundraiser to assist with the incorporation of the AWN and to build a website to provide a platform for over thirty water campaign groups and individuals around Australia.