An alarming NSW Water submission that highlights the destructive impact coal mining is having on the Sydney Water Catchment Area must be heeded by the NSW Government according to Lock the Gate Alliance.
The concerns were raised in Water NSW’s latest submission to the ongoing Independent Expert Panel into Mining in Sydney’s Catchment.
Within the document, Water NSW stated: “environmental consequences from mining in the Special Areas are greater than predicted when the mining was proposed and approved”.
“Some of these environmental consequences have caused (or are likely to cause) breaches of conditions in the relevant development consents, including performance criteria to protect watercourses and Sydney’s drinking water catchment.”
Water NSW goes on to call for improvements in the regulation of mining in the catchment area, and crucially states, “no further approvals should be given for mining that would permit the level of environmental impacts and consequences that have occurred in Wongawilli Creek, WC21, and Swamps 1a, 1b and 5 at Dendrobium, and Waratah Rivulet and Eastern Tributary at Metropolitan".
Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said a moratorium on new mines and expansions of existing mines needed to be implemented immediately to protect Sydney’s water.
She said Water NSW’s submission followed revelations late last year that showed six billion litres of water had been diverted from creeks feeding Sydney water catchments into underground coal mines in the Special Areas.
“Mining company and NSW Government assurances that expanded coal mining under Sydney's water catchment would not do serious damage were misplaced,” Ms Woods said.
“This catchment supplies water to our biggest city - a growing city that is facing drought and needs to take every precaution to safeguard precious water.
“There are new and expanded coal mining proposals in these areas being considered by the Department of Planning and the Government needs to immediately pause these projects.
“Any waste of water in the catchment of a growing city is reckless and unacceptable.
“We call on the Premier to impose a moratorium on any further coal mining approvals in the Special Areas while we await the final report of the Expert Panel this year.”