Showing posts with label water wars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label water wars. Show all posts

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Community unhappy about Tweed Shire Council water mining consent at Rowland Creek


Image: Onthehouse

Echo NetDaily
, 6 October 2018:

Around 100 protestors made their point before council ignored them by voting 4–3, to reject Mayor Katie Milne’s rescission motion in regards to the September vote, where the majority of Tweed Shire councillors gave the thumbs up to a water mining operation at Rowlands Creek.

Councillor Katie Milne moved that a DA for a bulk loading/delivery of extracted water and roadworks at Rowlands Creek Road be deferred for several reasons including that NSW Water’s response to the pumping study was a brief email, not a formal review.

She asked that council seek additional consideration and hydrological testing from the applicant as outlined in a report by Professor Peter Cook (Potential Impact of Groundwater Pumping on Rowlands Creek) and that a suitably qualified university review the applicant’s report and subsequent response as well as NSW Water’s response and Professor Cook’s reports.

The motion also argued that the costings of road damage (referred to in the report but not provided) be publicly released; that the Rowlands Creek / Kyogle Roads intersection problem (which has been acknowledged and considered by the applicant’s traffic engineers but remains unresolved) should be referred to an independent expert for an opinion on the best practice approach; that council refer the problem of the Rowlands Creek Road / Mitchell Street intersection to the same independent expert for opinion on a best practice solution; and, that Council staff report whether they have investigated previously claimed discrepancies in the road width on the straight close to Uki – if not, to do so and if the Bitzios report is incorrect propose appropriate corrective measures.

The motion also asked that council seek independent legal advice on whether its public interest assessment meets Council and other legal obligations.

The 4–3 vote went Crs Cherry, Cooper and Milne for the rescission, and Cs Byrne, Polglase, Allsop and Owen against.

Cr Milne told Echonetdaily that this is not the end of the issue as far as she and council are concerned. ‘The developer has to gain final sign-off from councillors that the roadworks required are properly completed before he can commence operations,’ said Ms Milne.

‘There is another application in the system for Dungay, the court judgement for the Urliup expansion, and numerous applications for amendments required to rectify non-compliances of other existing operators as well as whatever else comes in.’
The mayor added that some of her greatest concerns include the safety of local residents, the impact on Rowlands Creek, the viability of the State Significant Farmlands adjacent, and the viability of locals’ stock and domestic water bores as well as the enormous costs expected for residents for these ongoing road repairs.
The Tweed Water Alliance submitted a hydrology report which suggested the water mining should not go ahead yet council still voted to go ahead. Ms Milne says the report was unequivocal and absolutely convincing. ‘It was done by one of the world’s leading groundwater scientists. There are always councillors who put development before the community. Unfortunately the Labor councillor joined them this time.
‘This is an issue that affects the whole community across the Shire. Apart from the water security issues, I’m sure our residents and pensioners would not be keen on subsidising ongoing road damage from these heavy trucks.’

Tweed Water Alliance’s Facebook page suggests that direct community action is now being contemplated.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Whitehaven Coal’s Vickery mine extension community consultation has farmers up in arms

Whitehaven Coal Vickery Forest coal mining operation, 2018


Maules Creek section of coal mining operation, 2018

Whitehaven Coal Limited is seeking planning permission to extend its existing mining infrastructure footprint approx. 22kms north of Gunnedah in north-west NSW, by adding a coal processing hub with an on site coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP), train load-out facility and rail spur line to service its open cut mines at Tarrawonga, Rocglen and Werris Creek.

Quite naturally local rural communities are concerned…….

The Northern Daily Leader, 5 October 2018:

The Greens have condemned NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and called his decision to ignore the plea of drought-stricken farmers “the height of arrogance”.

The spraying follows comments Mr Roberts made to The Leader yesterday, where he referred to the 4000-page Vickery coal mine extension report as a “relatively short document”, as he knocked back the request of farmers for more time to read the submission.

Farmers say they are struggling to find time to read and understand the massive document, let alone write a response to it, when they are hand feeding cattle.
Greens resource spokesman Jeremy Buckingham wrote to Mr Roberts in September, seeking to extend the public consultation time from 42 days to 90 days, however is yet to receive a response.

“Minister Anthony Roberts has displayed the height of arrogance in ignoring local farmers and communities and failing to give them a fair chance of responding to a 4000-page document on Vickery coal mine,” Mr Buckingham said.

“Minister Roberts has failed to acknowledge that many local folks are flat out keeping their livestock and farms alive in drought conditions.

“Local farmers and community members have asked for an reasonable extension of time to read thousands of pages of documents and make a considered response, but the Minister won’t listen.

“What does the NSW Government have to hide on this Vickery coal mine proposal?”...

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Adani Group has Morrison, Price, Littleproud & Taylor wrapped around its little finger


Since September 2013 the Australian Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government has been a rolling national disaster.

This latest episode appears to have its roots in the hard right's commitment to dismantle environmental protections.

Especially replacing Labor's "water trigger" amendment to the ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION ACT 1999 with a band-aid which fooled no-one.

ABC News, 25 September 2018:

A farmer has been denied access to a river system Adani plans on drawing 12.5 billion litres of water from in what activists are calling a "double standard", documents obtained under freedom of information laws show.

The mining giant plans to take 12.5 billion litres of water from the Suttor River every year, nearly as much as all local farmers combined.

Despite this amount, the documents show at least one irrigator had their application for a water licence rejected in 2011, leading activists to claim farmers were assessed more harshly than Adani.

The documents also show the modelling used by the company to predict the impacts of the water usage ignored the past 14 years of rainfall data and, despite planning to take water until 2077, it did not take into account the impacts of climate change.


"Altogether, this underscores how poor the decision was last week to allow 12.5 billion litres to be taken without assessment," Carmel Flint from anti-mining group Lock The Gate Alliance said. The group obtained the documents under Queensland's Right To Information laws.....

Monday, 24 September 2018

When it comes to protecting Clarence Valley water resources "Castillo's credibility is wearing very thin indeed"


This is a basic map clearly showing a historic cluster of small abandoned mine sites in the vicinity of the Mann River, one of the principal tributaries of the Clarence River which is the largest coastal river in New South Wales. 

The old Cangai Mine site is now part of a Castillo Copper Limited exploration lease and its proximity to the Mann River is apparent.

As the crow flies the distance between this site and the Mann River is estimated to be less than 4 kms and Cangi Mine is also bounded on three sides by three creeks which feed into the Mann.




Following North Coast Voices posting Castillo Copper Limited's Jackadgery Project: has spinning the truth already begun? on 17 September 2018 one Clarence Valley resident sent me an email which pointed out a curious ommission in Castillo Copper Limited exploration licence application this mining company:

"However, under Section 19.4 beneath the heading: “Surface water sources”, is the following requirement:

“Provide details of the existing surface water sources in the area that are likely to be affected by the activity. Provide details of the nearest watercourse/s and the distance between the proposed disturbance area/s and the nearest watercourse/s”.

Castillo's Response

“The proposed activity area bounded by Bobward creek from the west and Smelter creek from the east. The distance from disturbance area to Bobward creek is 550 – 620m; the distance to Smelter creek is about 500m. The water for drilling if required will most likely will be taken from Bobward creek. Permission has been sought and granted by the landowner”.

No mention of the Mann or Clarence in the entire document.

Talk about "dodgy". Castillo's credibility is wearing very thin indeed,"

BACKGROUND

North Coast Voices, 17 September 2018, Castillo Copper Limited's Jackadgery Project: has spinning the truth already begun?

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Blatant water theft by miners being allowed under Berejiklian Government rules?


IMAGE: Ros Druce. Maules Creek Mine, January 2016 in New Matilda

ABC News, 10 September 2018:

A New South Wales coal mine is being accused of inappropriately taking more surface water than it is entitled to.

A review of Whitehaven Coal's Maules Creek Mine near Narrabri by the campaign group Lock the Gate showed it captured 1,800 million litres (ML) of surface water in 2016, despite being licenced to take 30 million litres.

Surface water is water that is collected from rainfall and run off.

An examination of surface water licences in New South Wales has been unable to find any other surface water licences held by the mine to justify the additional water.

"It does appear that the take is much higher than the licence they have explained to the community," Maules Creek farmer Lochie Leitch said.

Whitehaven Coal declined to be interviewed.

The company issued a statement saying it was in compliance with its water licences, and the use of rainfall and runoff is permissible under legislation.

Farmers whose properties neighbour the mine have joined forces with the campaign group, Lock the Gate Alliance, to lodge a complaint with the state's new water watchdog, the Natural Resources Access Regulator.

The NRAR was set up in April 2018 following a review of water management and compliance which was prompted by a story by the ABC's Four Corners.

The farmers are worried that the alleged collection of this extra surface water is affecting the environment.

"[It's] simply capturing too much water that would otherwise be recharging groundwater and flowing into surface water systems," Maules Creek farmer Sally Hunter said.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

The people of the Liverpool Plains versus Santos and its irresponsible domestic and international shareholders


Oil and gas mining corporation Santos Limited is currently seeking approval to drill up to 850 natural gas wells on est. 425 sites over 95,000 hectares in the Pilliga Forest region of north-west New South Wales. 

Pilliga Forest is consdered a rare example of intact temperate forest and covers an est. 300,000 hectares sitting atop a recharge area of the Great Artesian Basin.

Santos presents itself as an Australian company, yet two affilated Chinese companys hold over 624 million voting shares in the companyand its top institutional shareholders contain the usual mix of international banks, finance and investment companies2.

In its 2017 annual report Santos admits; A range of environmental risks exist within oil and gas exploration and production activities3

This is the response of the people living on the Liverpool Plains. 


The backyard of New South Wales is facing its biggest threat yet – invasive gasfields. Betrayal by governments has meant protectors are fighting to save the things they love. The Pilliga, Great Artesian Basin, Liverpool Plains – all are at risk. This is a David and Goliath battle to save our land, air and water from destruction. It’s also a fight for the soul and future of Australia. In this film we meet the experts and people living in the sacrifice zone and uncover the truth behind the real gas crisis confronting ordinary Australians.

https://youtu.be/h3h1FxwI1CE

Footnotes
1. As of 27 June 2017 Hony Partners Group, L.P and ENN Ecological Holdings Co Ltd acting in concert
2. At Page 130 https://www.santos.com/media/4319/2017-annual-report.pdf.
3. 15 February 2017 Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection fined Santos  $12,190 for non-compliance with a Soils Management Plan.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Problems with the Murray-Darling Basin plan just keep mounting and the NSW Northern Rivers needs to make sure these problems don't become ours


When it comes to the Murray-Darling Basin river systems there is never any really good news - we go from reports of town water shortages, pictures of permanently dry river beds and allegations of widespread water theft to the possibility of a fundamental legal error in the master plan circa 2012.

The Guardian, 2 May 2018:

One of Australia’s foremost lawyers has issued an extraordinary warning that the Murray-Darling basin plan is likely to be unlawful because the authority overseeing it made a fundamental legal error when it set the original 2,750-gigalitre water recovery target in 2012.

Bret Walker QC, who chairs the South Australian royal commission into the Murray-Darling basin plan, issued the warning in a second issues paper. He also spelled out the far-reaching implications of the plan being unlawful.

Not only does it mean that the original water recovery target of 2,750GL was likely to have been set too low to deliver the environmental goal of the Water Act and could be challenged in court, but it also means that amendments to the plan now being debated by the Senate are likely to be invalid as well.

These include a plan to trim 70GL from the northern basin water recovery targets and a suite of projects, known as the sustainable diversion limit adjustment projects, which would be funded in lieu of recovering 605GL in the southern basin.

Both are being strongly criticised by scientists and environmentalists because they believe that they further undercut the environmental outcomes of the plan. 
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) says it has relied on the best available science in recommending the changes.

The new uncertainty over the validity of the amendments will make it difficult for crossbenchers to support them as the Coalition government has urged.

Walker has provided a roadmap for environmental groups or an individual affected to challenge the plan in court.

At the heart of his advice is his view that the Water Act directs the MDBA to ensure environmental outcomes are achieved when it set the environmentally sustainable level of take (ESLT) from the river system. This is the flipside of setting the water recovery target.

But instead of considering the environmental outcomes only, the MDBA applied a triple bottom line approach, giving equal weight to social and economic impacts of water recovery.

“The MDBA also appears to have approached the word ‘compromise’ in the definition of ESLT in a manner involving compromise between environmental, social and economic outcomes rather than in relation to the concept of ‘endangering’ or ‘putting in danger’ environmental criteria such as key environmental assets, and key ecosystem functions,” the SA royal commission said.

 “The commissioner is inclined to take the view that this approach to the word ‘compromise’ in s4 of the Water Act is not maintainable, or alternatively that he is presently unable to see how it is maintainable,” the paper says.

“There is also evidence that recovering an amount of water for the environment of 2,750GL does not, as a matter of fact, represent an ESLT in accordance with the definition of that term under the Water Act.”

Walker pointed to numerous reports, including a 2011 CSIRO report which said modelling based on a 2,800GL recovery target “does not meet several of the specified hydrological and ecological targets”.

There is also evidence that the MDBA received legal advice on more than one occasion, consistent with the commissioner’s concerns.

The issue of water sustainability in the Murray-Darling Basin affects not just those living in the basin and the economies of the four states this large river system runs through – it also affects the bottom line of the national economy and those east coast regions which will be pressured to dam and divert water to the Basin if its rivers continue to collapse.

One such region is the Northern Rivers of New South Wales and in particular the Clarence River catchment area and the Clarence Valley Local Government Area.

Almost every year for the past two decades there have been calls to dam and divert the Clarence River – either north into south-east Queensland or west over the ranges into the NSW section of the Murray Darling Basin.

The latest call came last month on 18 April from Toowoomba Regional Council in south-east Queensland:



The response came on 24 April via NBN News and it was a firm NO:

However, because communities in the Murray-Darling Basin have for generations refused to face the fact that they are living beyond the limits of long-term water sustainability and successive federal governments have mismanaged water policy and policy implementation, such calls will continue.

These calls for water from other catchments to be piped into the Basin or into SE Queensland are not based on scientific evidence or sound economic principles. 

They are based on an emotional response to fact that politicians and local communities looking at environmental degradation and water shortages on a daily basis are still afraid to admit that they no longer have the amount of river and groundwater needed to maintain their way of life and, are wanting some form of primitive magic to occur.

The Clarence River system is the most attractive first option for those would-be water raiders, but experience has shown the Northern Rivers region that once a formal investigation is announced all our major rivers on the NSW North Coast become vulnerable as the terms of reference are wide.

The next National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) runs from 7-20 June 2018.

If Toowoombah Regional Council’s motion is placed on the assembly agenda it is highly likely that a number of councils in the Murray-Darling Basin will announce their support of the proposal.

Northern Rivers communities need to watch this NGA closely.

Monday, 30 April 2018

What the Australian Government didn’t want the UN to publish



During Nationals MP for New England Barnaby Joyce’s disastrous sojourn as Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources the federal government began a successfull campaign to have the United Nations delete all criticism of Australia’s $13bn effort to restore the ailing Murray-Darling river system from a published study.

It seems the Turnbull Government did not want the world to know, or Australian voters to be reminded, that it had placed long term water sustainability in four of its eight states and territories in jeopardy.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations draft report in question was the following:

C.J. Perry and Pasquale Steduto, (25 May 2017), DOES IMPROVED IRRIGATION TECHNOLOGY SAVE WATER? A review of the evidence: Discussion paper on irrigation and sustainable water resources management in the Near East and North Africa

Abstract
The Near East and North Africa (NENA) Region has the lowest per-capita fresh water resource availability among all Regions of the world. Already naturally exposed to chronic shortage of water, NENA will face severe intensification of water scarcity in the coming decades due to several drivers related to demography, food security policies, overall socio-economic development and climate change. Irrigated agriculture in the Region, which already consumes more than 85 percent of renewable fresh water resources, will face strong challenges in meeting augmented national food demand and supporting economic development in rural areas. Countries of the NENA Region promote efficient and productive irrigation as well as the protection and sustainable management of scarce and fragile natural resources, particularly water, in their national plans. Through the Regional Initiative on Water Scarcity, FAO is providing support and focus to efforts in confronting the fast-widening gap between availability and demand for fresh water resources. A key question to address is: how can countries simultaneously reduce this gap, promote sustainable water resources management and contribute effectively to food security and enhanced nutrition? The traditional assumption has been that increasing irrigation efficiency through the adoption of modern technologies, like drip irrigation, leads to substantial water savings, releasing the saved water to the environment or to other uses. The evidence from research and field measurements shows that this is not the case. The benefit at the local “on-farm” scale may appear dramatic, but when properly accounted at basin scale, total water consumption by irrigation tends to increase instead of decreasing. The potential to increase water productivity— more “crop per drop”—is also quite modest for the most important crops. These findings suggest that reductions in water consumption by irrigated agriculture will not come from the technology itself. Rather, measures like limiting water allocation will be needed to ensure a sustainable level of water use. The present report provides the evidence needed to open up a discussion with all major stakeholders dealing with water resources management on the proper and scientifically sound framework required to address jointly water scarcity, sustainability and food security problems. A discussion that has been disregarded for too long.

C.J. Perry stated at Research Gate on 25 April 2018 that:

Government representatives from the Australian Embassy in Rome disagreed with the research findings for the Australia section summarised in the original report. FAO, in response, welcomed the opportunity to improve the report. Dissemination was put on hold and the report was removed from the FAO website pending inclusion of additional material relevant to the Australian section. In a series of exchanges, no empirical evidence was presented to support the Australian authorities’ claim that the investment program in the Murray Darling Basin has generated substantial water savings and environmental benefits. This left the global principles and conclusions set out in the original report unchallenged, while the results from Australia remained contentious. Therefore, it was decided that the best solution to the matter was to withdraw the Australian section from the publication and let the Discussion Paper to be available again on the web. The original and current versions of the report both invite submissions of additional case studies, information and analysis to WSI@fao.org.  Cases documenting technical or policy interventions where irrigation water has been released to environmental or other uses will be particularly valuable.

The suppressed section in the original draft of this UN report would have been identical or very similar to this version of the text:

4.1 AUSTRALIA

Document(s)
System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water (SEEA-Water) (United Nations Statistics Division, 2012); Water Account Australia 2004–05, (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006); Droughtand the rebound effect: A Murray–Darling basin example (Loch and Adamson, 2015); Understanding irrigation water use efficiency at different scales for better policy reform: A case study of the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia (Qureshi et al., 2011); Water Reform and Planning in the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia (Grafton, 2017)
…………………………………...........................................................................................
Context

Australia has led the world in the introduction of water rights in a context of extreme resource variability.
This in turn has provided the basis for managed trading between sectors and locations, and valuable lessons regarding potential problems as previously under-utilized entitlements are sold and used, and of “stranded assets” if significant volumes of water are traded out of an area. More recently, evidence suggests that subsidy programmes to “save” water seem to have been ineffective, poorly conceived and un-prioritized.
…………………………………...........................................................................................
Highlights

The Murray Darling Basin (MDB) is widely recognized for its advanced standards in water resources management—in particular the system of tradable water rights that allows transfer of water on short term or permanent leases subject to evaluation of third party impacts by the regulatory authorities.

Australia participated in the formulation of the United Nations (UN) System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water. This framework accounts for water withdrawn from “the environment” (rivers, aquifers), use of that water in various sectors, including transfer between sectors (for example a water utility supplying a factory or town), consumption through ET, and direct and indirect return flows to the environment and to sinks. Trial implementation of the framework was planned in Australia, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics had already in 2006 issued guidelines referencing the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water (UN- System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for
Water (SEEAW) system), which was to be applied to the reporting of the 2004-5 national water accounts.

However, the following statement from the introduction to Chapter 4 of the 2004-5 National Water Accounts for Australia5 is apparently at variance with one critical element of the SEEAW approach—namely the distinction between consumptive and non-consumptive uses:

This chapter examines the use of water within the AGRICULTURE industry in Australia. Water used by this industry includes livestock drinking water and water applied through irrigation to crops and pastures. Since the AGRICULTURE industry does not use water in-stream, or supply water to other users, total water use is equal to water consumption.

Elsewhere in the Accounting Standards it is stated that:

It is believed that leakage to landscape from surface water resources such as rivers and storages occurs in the MDB region; however, reliable volumes are not available, and currently there is no suitable quantification approach to estimate these volumes.

Does this assumption of zero return flows matter? Indeed it does: Australia is now embarked on a massive (AUS$ 10bn) programme to save water for the environment, including subsidies to farmers for hi-tech on farm investment. Savings are estimated on the basis of typical application efficiencies (e.g. flood irrigation 50 percent, drip 90 percent), so a farmer with a water entitlement of 100 water units, switching from flood to drip would be assumed to consume 50 units at present, which would require a delivery of only 50/0.9 (55.5) units after conversion. The “saving” of 44.5 units are then divided between the farmer and the environment. Of the 22.25 units going to the farmer, he consumes (with the new technology) approximately extra 20 units. So on-farm water consumption is expected to increase from 50  units to 70 units (and return flows are diminished by approximately the same amount), in apparent direct contradiction to the programme objectives. In some cases, such return flows will be non-recoverable outflows to saline groundwater; in other cases, where irrigation is close to rivers or where groundwater is usable, the return flows are recoverable and cannot be counted as “savings”. However, the current evaluation of investments includes no apparent basis for assessing whether subsidized introduction of hi-tech systems will actually release water to alternative uses, or simply increase consumption by the extra amount allocated to the farmer. A more comprehensive implementation of UN-SEEAW—where return flows to the environment are specifically accounted for—would have addressed this problem.

Other authors have identified the issue. Qureshi et al. (2011) point to the problem of ignoring return flows, and the danger of focussing on local “efficiency”, while Loch and Adamson (2015) go on to identify the “rebound effect” whereby when water deliveries to the farm are more valuable, the demand for water actually increases.

Most recently, writing in a Special Issue of Water Economics and Policy that addressed many of the complexities of managing water scarcity in the Murray Darling basin, Grafton (2017) made the following key observations regarding the Australian experience with providing subsidies for on-farm improvements in irrigation technology:

* About USD 2.5 billion of taxpayers’ funds used for improving farm irrigation has primarily benefitted private individuals;
* These investments have had no discernible impact in terms of reduced water use on a per-hectare basis, or release of water to alternative users;
* The buyback of water rights from willing sellers was the most effective use of taxpayer funds to release water to alternative uses;
* Investments in irrigation to raise “crop-per-drop” productivity had failed to deliver water savings on a basin scale.



Thursday, 26 April 2018

Everytime someone buys a bottle of water in Australia it has consequences for a community somewhere in the world


By November 2017 Tweed Shire's est. 93,458 residents faced a water security trifecta.

Floods in the first quarter of the year had affected water quality and local infrastructure, a  tidal anomaly in August had caused saltwater to enter the Bray Park Weir, the following month Terranora Lagoon was contaminated by raw sewerage from the treatment plant and the walls of Clarrie Hall dam still needed raising to cope with urban water needs.

Water sustainability still remains an issue in 2018.

In this case it appears to be Black Mount Pty Ltd and Mt. Warning Spring Water Company's commercial water supply needs which are the main culprit.......

Echo NetDaily, 13 April 2018:

A call for the halt of water mining in the Tweed Valley has been made by NSW Greens MP and North Coast spokesperson, Dawn Walker in state parliament this week and is supported by the Tweed Water Alliance. Concerns over the impact on underground water resources, alleged poor compliance with extraction licenses and the damage caused by heavy vehicles have all been raised.

‘Water is our most precious resource and gigalitres of water beneath Tweed Valley are being sucked up and bottled for commercial profit, leaving the community high and dry with the impacts. Water mining licences are being handed out by the government without adequate monitoring and in many cases, water meters haven’t even been installed,’ said Ms Walker.

Water mining licences are controlled by the state government while work on the property and permission for truck movements are controlled by the local council.

‘We certainly support the ban,’ said Jeremy Tager, spokesperson for the Tweed 
water alliance who believes the water extraction companies are ‘operating lawlessly’.

‘Extracting water is a lose lose prospect for here and most other places. Water is taken away from local users; it creates little or no employment as most of the operators are water transporters. That means the trucks come in and get filled up and then are taken away to be bottled elsewhere.

‘They only pay a a small road contribution to drive these big trucks on rural roads that were never designed for them.’

In December 2017 the Tweed council voted to amend their LEP (local environment plan) 2014 to remove the clause that the previous council had put in to allow water extraction for bottling water in the Tweed shire. This has been sent to the state government for approval as part of the Gateway process. If the state government decide that the change can proceed then Tweed council will be able to put the LEP amendment on public display.

The state government can also request that a ‘savings clause’ be put in that would allow current applications that are waring to be assessed to be allowed.

Echonetdaily asked the state government what the time frame for responding to the Tweeds request for removing the water mining clause from the LEP was and if they would request the inclusion of a ‘savings clause’.

A spokesperson for the department of planning and environment responded stating that; ‘The department is currently in the early stages of assessing a proposal from Tweed Shire council to remove the water extraction and bottling clause to the Tweed Shire 2014 LEP.

Local extractor takes council to court

Larry Karlos, a local water extractor, is currently taking the Tweed Council to the Land and Environment court to appeal their decision not to allow them to increase the size of the trucks they use to transport water from six meters to nineteen meters.
‘The council refused the application for 19m trucks because they felt that the road was no suitable for that size truck,’ said Tweed Mayor Katie Milne.

‘Urlip Road is really narrow and in some places it is only one lane. There are also areas where it is very steep on one side and has a steep drop off on the other.

ABC News, 21 March 2018:

It's the new battle in the bush — the bottled water wars.

On one side is Australia's $800-million-a-year bottled water industry and its suppliers, on the other, rural residents who fear their most precious resource, groundwater, is being squandered.

"It's dividing the local community," said Larry Karlos, one of half a dozen water extractors in the Tweed Valley in northern New South Wales.
He's been pumping water from an aquifer beneath his property for 16 years.
But his recent bid to increase the amount he sells to bottling companies has ignited local opposition.

Fourth-generation farmer Patrick O'Brien fears his children's future is being jeopardised for the profit of the water industry.

"If they don't stop this type of thing then, you know, what's going to be left?" he told 7.30.

“What's going to left for future generations? No-one was really worried when they were trucking the water out in small amounts, but then they want more, they want more trips, they want bigger trucks."