The Nature Conservation Council of NSW supports Rivers SOS’s landmark Land and Environment court challenge commencing today of the State Government’s approval of longwall mining directly under a key source of Sydney’s water supply, Woronora Dam.
Nature Conservation Council Executive Director Cate Faehrmann said it was vital the NSW Government started putting the community’s right to clean, fresh water before the interests of the mining industry.
“The expansion and increased intensity of mining in our catchment areas is stealing lifegiving water from our communities,” Ms Faehrmann said.
“The approval of expanded mining activity in the so-called ‘special area’ of Woronora Dam could take an unacceptable environmental toll on Sydney’s water catchment, including potentially cracking the dam and polluting or exhausting groundwater resources.
“NSW is facing intense drought conditions, with several dams at near-record lows and some rural communities forced to acquire emergency water supplies. Our water crisis will only intensify as the impacts of climate change extend and increase water shortages in many areas.
“With further predicted water shortages, NSW cannot afford to allow mining activities that risk contaminating precious catchments and cracking river beds.
“Securing and allocating sustainable water supplies for communities, the environment and agriculture must be the priority. The risk of damaging and possibly draining Sydney’s water storage dam is too high a price to pay for mining company profits.
“The Planning Minister Kristina Keneally must not use her powers under Part 3A to ignore the long-term security of Sydney’s water by allowing longwall mining near rivers and under dams.
“The Nature Conservation Council is calling on the NSW Government to urgently reject approvals for mining activities in or near water catchment areas,” Ms Faehrmann said.