Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Trading water for Coal - Spotlight on catchment protection

Woronora and four other dams south of Sydney provide essential water supplies to Sydney and Wollongong but these supplies are imperilled unless the intensity of underground coal mining in the region is curbed.

“For years, Government authorities have stood by while coal miners cracked stream beds and damaged swamps in the water supply catchments for Sydney and Wollongong . Now, higher impact coal mining proposals are coming forward,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Instead of increasing protection, the NSW Government's 2008 Southern Coalfield Mining Inquiry recommends taking more risks with water supply security. Imposing protection zones at the mine approval stage should not be abandoned,” Mr Muir said.

“Planning Minister, Kristina Keneally , must open her eyes to the catchment damaging consequences of the Inquiry's risk management approach,” Mr Muir said.

“Protection must be assured for essential streams and swamps. The Inquiry's risk management zones are a formula for catchment degradation, where mining experts will apply increasingly intensive mining and experimental rehabilitation strategies. Further damage to the streams, swamps and catchments must surely be the result. Premier Rees must stop the mining damage within our drinking water catchments,” he said.

“Deferral of protection zones that work, for on-going risk management is exactly what it says it is; a bigger risk with a bit more management”, said Mr Muir.

“The Inquiry's proposed Risk Management Zones for sensitive catchment areas equals more damage. To undertake further studies on mining damage and conduct experimental repair techniques is a high risk strategy that should be rejected, Mr Muir said.

“ Sydney 's water supply security depends upon the preservation of those streams and swamps that supply the clean fresh water,” said Mr Muir.

“We should ensure these precious water supply catchments are kept safe for the generations to come”, Mr Muir said.

PUBLIC FORUM ‘Trading Water for Coal' will be held

6:30pm, Wednesday 20th May, 2009

Level 1, Sydney Mechanics School of Arts 280 Pitt Street , Sydney

Discover the disparity between what is being done and what 
must be done to stop the damage to our water supply catchments.

For more information contact: Keith Muir , (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)