Future drinking-water supplies could be limited or contaminated by the effect of CSG mining on the region’s aquifers, a Rous Water councillor has claimed.
Yesterday the county council, which supplies drinking water to Ballina, Byron and Lismore, announced it is developing a strategy for long-term water security in the region, including the use of water from aquifers.
Rous Water’s chair, Ballina councillor Susan Meehan, said that although the region has water security for the short to medium term, action was needed now to secure future supplies.
‘Indications are that we need to act in the near future to extend the life of our supplies and bring new water sources online to ensure our long-term water security,’ she told the media yesterday.
One of the options being considered in the plan is the investigation of groundwater sources near Byron Bay, Ballina, Newrybar and Dunoon.
But fellow Rous councillor, Lismore City councillor and Lock the Gate board member Simon Clough, believes that plans by gas company Metgasco to source CSG in the area could adversely impact on both the quality and quantity of water available.
‘If CSG goes ahead, with fracking and a very significant risk of pollution of groundwater – and the waste of groundwater when produced water comes out of CSG wells – this could significantly affect the opportunity Rous has of utilising the groundwater resources,’ he told ABC local radio this morning.
Rous will put its draft Future Water Strategy on public display from mid-February 2014 for community feedback.
‘To get the most out of this consultation we are conducting public consultation after the school holidays to ensure everyone is able to have a say,’ Cr Meehan said.
To receive the document and/or comment, email [email protected].