Protect Sydney's Drinking Water Catchments

Our drinking water, our rivers and even our World Heritage areas are threatened by longwall coal mining in the greater Sydney region

The agency that manages Sydney’s drinking water catchment sees longwall coal mining as one of the biggest threats to our water supply.

NSW’s Chief Scientist said that our catchment is the only publicly owned drinking water catchment in the world where coal mining is allowed.

A 2016 poll found that 84% of people in NSW want farmland, water and environment protected from coal mining and CSG.

But the Government is still giving the tick to coal mining in Sydney’s water catchment.

It’s time that NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes declared no go zones in the drinking water catchments of our cities, farmland and water resources around the state.

The map of coal mines beneath Sydney’s water...

Map of coal mines beneath Sydney's water

Surrounding our vital reservoirs, are the Special Areas, usually kept clean and untouched, to act as natural filtration systems - except for longwall coal mining.

These dams shown above provide 20% of Sydney’s water. Swamps and rivulets currently provide water even during dry times to these dams - until they’re cracked forever from below.

#1. APPIN COAL MINE
Flammable methane leaking through Nepean River due to riverbed cracks caused by nearby longwall coal mining.

#2. METROPOLITAN COAL (PEABODY) MINE
Undermining Woronora Catchment
The once pristine waterway, Waratah Rivulet, in the Woronora Catchment Special Area which flows into Woronora Dam, was cracked and drained by mining in 2006.

#3. RUSSELL VALE COAL MINE
Undermining Cataract Catchment
WaterNSW was scathing about Wollongong Coal’s Russell Vale expansion plan: “The estimated water loss of 7.3 million litres per day is unacceptable, particularly during dry periods.”

#4. DENDROBRIUM COAL MINE
Undermining Cordeaux Catchment
Sept 2016 catchment inspection revealed newly cracked and drained creeks and dry wetlands. WaterNSW has objected to a proposal lodged by Illawarra Coal, saying the risks to the Sydney water supply are “unacceptably high.”

#5. TAHMOOR COAL MINE
The World-Heritage Lakes, once famous for canoeing and swimming prior to the 1980s, have been ruined by coal mining, which began in the area in the early 80s.

NSW PREMIER, PROTECT SYDNEY'S WATER CATCHMENTS!

Demand Gladys Berejiklian, the new Premier of NSW, protect Sydney's drinking water catchments. 

NSW Premier, protect Sydney's Water

860 signatures

#6. SPRINGVALE COAL MINE
Mine effluent permitted to be discharged everyday into the Coxs River that flows into Sydney’s largest water supply.
The NSW Planning Assessment Commission in 2015, permitted the mine operator to discharge millions of litres of highly saline mine water, containing nitrates, phosphates, zinc, nickel and other contaminants, every day into the Coxs River, which flows into the second-largest source of water for Sydney’s main water supply - Warragamba Dam.

#7. HUME COAL MINE
Controversial Korean-owned mine will put a pristine aquifer at risk
The company concedes their mine will drawdown water from the pristine aquifer by up to 90 metres and affect an area of over 300 square kms. A recent study by The Australia Institute found that the project overall, will have “no economic value to the Southern Highlands or NSW.”

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The hidden damage of longwall mining…

Most damage occurs below the surface, making it hard to measure, predict or prove loss of surface water.  Longwall coal mining strips out an entire coal seam and allows the ground to collapse behind the machinery - this is called “subsidence”.

Subsidence-induced impacts:

  • streambed cracking
  • loss of surface flows 
  • contamination of water
  • gas venting
  • swamp draining
  • surface fissures
  • cliff falls

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