Ballina Shire Council last week voted unanimously in support of a proposal to restrict water extraction in the shire and to reinvestigate existing licences.
The motion, from Cr Jeff Johnson (independent), seeks a staff report on ‘options to amend the LEP to prohibit water extraction for the purposes other than for agricultural or domestic uses’.
It will also see Council write to water minister Niall Blair ‘calling for a halt to any new water licenses for non-agricultural purposes such as bottled water within the Ballina Shire’.
Clarification was also requested on whether existing licenses can be transferred to third parties for non-agricultural uses.
In addition, the council will ‘engage with Rous Water with regards to water supply security for the Ballina Shire and neighbouring councils’.
‘It is important that Council is in a position to proactively manage any future applications we may receive, recognising we already have one application under assessment,’ Cr Johnson said in a statement
‘As licensing is predominantly a state government issue it’s important that current licensing arrangements reflect the community’s expectations and are managed in an environmentally responsible way.
‘It’s great that the state government has recently announced that it will be looking into this issue in response to community concern.
‘Ballina Council needs to ensure that we do all we can to protect our aquifers, particularly on the Alstonville Plateau and other underground water supplies,’ Cr Johnson said.