The people of the Tweed Shire would like to drink their own water and not see it bottled in plastic*, shipped off snd sold.
The Northern Rivers Guardians (NRG) president Scott Sledge is asking Tweed Council to turn off the tap to further water mining.
‘Tweed Council has received a development application (DA19/0346) from Mount Warning Beverage Company. It will involve a three-fold increase in extraction from 50 to 150 megalitres a year and allow 32 truck movements a day between 4am and 9pm.
Those opposed to the increase are being urged to make a submission to council outlining their concerns.
Labor honours water commitments
Tweed councillor Reece Byrnes says Labor’s support of the removal of water extraction for bottling from the Tweed LEP (Local Environment Plan) has ensured that no further water extraction business operations will be established or allowed in the Tweed Shire.
‘This was a policy taken by our Labor state candidates in the last state election, and I continue to honour Labor’s strong commitment to the community.
Councillor Reece says that The LEP amendment is an effective moratorium against any further water extractors coming into the Shire.
‘However, existing businesses will still be allowed to operate, as any retrospective action would be deemed high risk for council and illegal to pursue,’ he said.
‘Mount Warning Beverage Company is an existing business and therefore can continue to operate. As a business, like any other, they can submit development applications in relation to their business.’
Extraction licence granted
Tweed Shire Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry says that in terms of expansion, the state government Office of Water has granted the 150ML licence.
‘Now it will be up to us as councillors to assess both the amenity impacts of transporting the water off the land, and the assessment of whether that water extraction may have an impact on neighbouring properties and groundwater resources,’ she said.
‘The assessment of potential impacts on the local water table is very important. The bar is very high for council, we need to be convinced that this will not have an adverse impact on agricultural land or natural ecosystems, which is hard to be sure of with the current available science.’
Councillor Reece says that council’s continuing role in the existing extraction operations are still largely limited to the regulation of truck approvals and their movements upon the road.
‘Water extraction licences, their volumes, their monitoring and regulation, and the scientific knowledge of water movement below ground remain the responsibility of the state government,’ he told Echonetdaily.
99 per cent of residents opposed
Pat Miller from the Tweed Water Alliance says the application by the The Mount Warning Beverage Company Pty Ltd for increased water mining operations thumbs its nose at the community.
‘Ninety-nine percent of Uki residents, in an even-handed, residence-to-residence survey, said they were opposed to water mining,’ he said.
‘The development application soon to be before council will put 32 huge water trucks a day along roads that were never built for them. The affects on residents will be huge. The water miners are selling off the reasons we live here – the environment and its ambience.’
Mr Miller says the hydrogeology study is completely inconclusive.
‘Running enormous, noisy trucks, taking water off country, feeding the plastic water bottle industry and pumping out huge quantities of water for private profit, creating little to no employment – how can any of that be good for a community?
‘The Tweed Water Alliance calls on the Tweed Shire Council to halt this dead in its tracks and to work towards repairing the appalling litany of bad decisions that led to this resource and cash grab,’ says Miller.
Scott Sledge is urging council to formally object to the DA.
‘The Tweed Shire Council needs to hear from residents,’ he said. ‘We need to prevent further removal of our common water resources. If this continues we won’t have enough water and the dark actors may succeed in their desire to dam Byrrill Creek or other water courses.’
Trucks on community roads
Chris Cherry says the situation is that the transport route is through the middle of our communities.
‘All indications are they will not accept this type of increase in trucks. We have to ask how sustainable the water bottling industry is?
‘Surely, most people accept that pumping bore water that belongs to the whole community and putting it into plastic bottles that are used once then discarded is not the industry we want this area to be known for,’ she said.
Submissions need to be lodged by July 5.
*Ed – People please, plastic sucks. Just stop it.