“Paradigm shift”: WaterNSW flushes out the truth on Dendrobium expansion plan

Published: October 11, 2019

new submission by WaterNSW ‘strongly objects’ to the Dendrobium coal mine expansion beneath Sydney’s drinking water catchment, raising very serious concerns as dam water levels continue to fall, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.

In its recent submission against the Dendrobium proposal, the authority wrote that the project would “cause subsidence that would be higher than recorded figures at any other mine in the Southern Coalfield” and that “the predicted impacts of the project on water resources and ecology are unacceptable”.

WaterNSW also said that the proposal “does not sufficiently take into account a ‘paradigm shift’ in scientific understanding and policy settings that has occurred since the last mine was approved in the Special Areas”.

It also warned that the environmental assessment showed, “In a dry year, within the catchments overlying the proposed mining area, the EIS predicts a 100% reduction in stream flow to the Avon Reservoir and a 67% reduction in stream flow to Pheasants Nest Weir.”

The authority concluded that the project would  “Affect WaterNSW's ability to deliver one of its core statutory functions to protect and enhance the quality and quantity of water in the declared Sydney catchment area".

Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods welcomed WaterNSW’s assessment of the project.

“WaterNSW has provided a damning indictment of the proposed Dendrobium mine expansion, confirming that it is completely inappropriate for the catchment and for Sydney,” she said.

“Dendrobium mine has already caused serious damage in the region which has led to loss of surface water.

“Late last year, it was revealed six billion litres of water had been diverted from creeks feeding Sydney water catchments into underground coal mines in the Special Areas.

“Now, South32 is predicting up to 3.3 billion litres of water will be lost each year as a result of the proposed expansion, with several creeks experiencing drastic decreases, further diminishing Greater Sydney’s precious drinking water supply.

“We can’t risk these types of severe impacts at a time when Sydney water storages are down below 50% and we’re facing increased water shortages due to global warming.

“This planned coal mine expansion needs to be sent back to the drawing board following this incredibly scathing review from the water department” she said.

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Content on this site is authorised by Georgina Woods for Lock the Gate Alliance, Lismore NSW.