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Byron Shire
December 7, 2021

Community group want to save Alstonville aquifer

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A typical geological cross section of the Casino, Lismore and Alstonville area.

The community group Save Alstonville Aquifer (SAA) are strenuously oppose the extraction of bottled water from Alstonville aquifer, the group’s submission lodged today focuses attention on a development application to mine water currently before Ballina Shire Council.

SAA are responding to the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer’s initial report into the impacts of the bottled water industry in the Northern Rivers region.

The report is a preliminary report only. As such it brings together information about the Northern Rivers aquifers without drawing any significant conclusions and certainly without any recommendations. SAA hope this will change in the final report.

What they are pleased about is that the terms of reference for the review have been expanded to include examination of socio-economic issues and environmental impacts of bottled water extraction. These new terms of reference have been added since the initial report was published.

SAA say the aquifer is already under considerable stress, citing evidence pointing to decline going back more than 20 years.

They say groundwater dependent ecosystems, including nearby populations of endangered species, stand to be adversely affected by water mining.

Spokesperson for SAA Mike Hogan says the local community is unequivocally opposed to bottled water extraction. ‘This is evidenced by over 1,000 submissions to Ballina Shire Council opposing the development application,’ he said. ‘Water mining for industrial purposes is incompatible with defined objectives for RU1-zoned land which is land designated for primary production.’

SAA says the precautionary principle should be applied by legislators/regulators when considering bottled water extraction from the Alstonville Plateau.

‘Expanding the bottled water industry would be irresponsible in light of increasing evidence of devastating damage caused by plastic on the world’s environment.

‘Heavy transport vehicles on narrow rural roads in the Alstonville area pose an unacceptable safety hazard.’

Mr Hogan says that industrial extraction of water would likely have a serious impact on people and ecosystems in the Alstonville area. ‘There are zero socio-economic benefits for local residents,’ he said. ‘The water will be transported for bottling to Queensland and perhaps exported from Australia. The Alstonville community would be left with depleted water reserves, damaged roads and significant loss of amenity.’

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  1. Thanks for highlighting this eco decimating and totally unacceptable industry. Stripping aquifers of precious ground water and introducing yet another stream of one-use plastics into an environment already choking on the stuff is utterly unconscionable. Water mining in the Tweed including the greedy Mount Warning Spring (bore) Water should also be stopped! On top of that, people should stop buying bottled water which is a complete marketing con job, and invest in a good filter and a non-plastic bottle. The ABC’s war on waste proved that tap water is better anyway!

  2. Let’s have no more of these greedy businesses that put profit before the environment. Stop supporting companies that produce bottled spring water. Governments should tax the extraction of water owned by all of us so highly that it is unprofitable to extract it. BUT THEY WON’T!

  3. Please do not make a foolish ill conceived decision which you will surely regret.

    To approve this activity is irresponsible. It adds nothing to the area; it does nothing to enhance it, but only degrade the area and the peaceful standard of living enjoyed by the residents of Alstonville.

    Renter and rate payers alike have a right to the quiet enjoyment of the properties in which they reside – they should have the final say about what is approved in their area – they pay the Council and the Council should correctly represents the wishes of all their constituents- NOT just the minor few who may benefit financially from this sort of venture.

    This type of greedy eco-vandalism will only result in altering this peaceful, scenic historic village for the worse, and forever.

    DON’T ALLOW THIS!!! THE RESIDENTS and OWNERS overwhelmingly oppose this venture.

    Alstonville is a pristine, beautiful area with many charming creeks like Alstonville Creek and the amazing Dalwood Falls to mention just a couple.

    In addition to the obvious degradation to precious groundwater, the noise of the operations will destroy and negatively impact the right of locals residents to the quiet enjoyment of their places of abode, which I’m sure would be in direct conflict with the Charter of the Council.

    Then there’s the massive increase in plastic bottled pollution- all for short term greed. It just makes no sense at all I’m sure I speak an overwhelmingly percentage of Alstonville locals and the broader surrounding region.

    Clearly a bad decision if it goes ahead – one which be fought passionately be locals alike until it tossed on the scrap heap where it belongs.

    If you’re that desperate to make money, try a bit a creative, lateral thinking in terms of projects that have true merit and benefit to the broader community rather than make inequitable decisions designed to a few and not the majority.

    There many sound reasons to object to this activity going ahead, and objecting is the ONLY way the Council can respond a retain any credibility with their constituents.

  4. This is gross incompetency even accepting the proposal .
    A huge NO to STEALING water to make money
    Greed and no thought to the environment or after effects of bottles etc
    A Bigger push is needed to stop this.


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