A Rous Water board member will move a motion calling on the state government to end gas exploration in areas where aquifers could be used for water supply.
The move follows the news over the weekend that Santos received just a $1,500 fine for poisoning an aquifer in its Pilliga exploration area with 20 times the allowable quantity of uranium together with heightened quantities of lead, aluminium, arsenic, barium, boron and nickel.
Last month Rous released its Future Water Strategy, which revealed the authority will be highly reliant on exploiting ground water for the region’s supplies in the future.
‘The NSW government must immediately ban unconventional gas drilling in areas that could damage or destroy underground water that may be required for the future needs of Rous Water’s customers,’ said councillor Simon Clough, one of Lismore Council’s representatives on the authority’s board.
‘Rous Water has spent many years and considerable resources in developing its Future Water Strategy. This strategy includes as one of its highest priorities undertaking detailed investigation to assess the suitability of increased use of groundwater as a new water source,’ said Cr Clough.
Rous Water already taps aquifers to supply some of its 100,000 customers and is looking to dramatically increase its use of groundwater to ensure water supplies into the future.
‘It is critical that the community’s groundwater resources are protected for its future generations. It is absolutely unacceptable that this community resource could be damaged or destroyed for private profit before it can be fully investigated for the benefit of the whole community,’ said Cr Clough.
Protest legally: Hogan
Meanwhile a local Nationals MP who will be addressing an anti-gas meeting in Lismore tonight has urged protesters not to break the law.
Page MP Kevin Hogan told local media protesting should be done ‘the right way’.
‘We have to be very careful how [to protest] and we do need to do that legally, otherwise it does the whole thing you’re protesting about a disservice,’ he told ABC local radio.
Last week landowner Peter Graham, whose Bentley property is scheduled for CSG test drilling by Metgasco, told media that barricades built by protesters were causing him access problems.
And Richmond Valley Council warned protesters it would close the road completely if they used cars or their bodies to block access by Metgasco vehicles.