Yesterday Rivers SOS joined with 50 community groups across the region at Parliament house in Sydney to launch Protect Sydney’s Water, an alliance to protect Sydney’s drinking water supply from destructive mining.
As you may have seen on the recent ABC Stateline, coal mining has had damaging impacts on our drinking water supplies, including cracked riverbeds, loss of water quantity and quality and the death of upland swamps which provide the baseflow to the rivers which flow into the dams – the drinking water for 4.5 million people in Sydney and the Illawarra.
The alliance released new polling that showed overwhelming public support for banning coal and coal seam gas activities in water catchments and close to rivers and streams.
Premier Barry O’Farrell has failed to live up to his pre-election promise to ensure that mining does not occur in any water catchment area. He is clearly out of step with the vast majority of the people of NSW and we need to tell him so.
Earlier this year, the government approved the BHP Dendrobium proposal to expand long-wall coal mines in Sydney’s drinking water catchment, even after the Sydney Catchment Authority advised them the impacts of fractures and water loss from swamps were irreversible.
Four coal mines that currently undermine Sydney’s Metropolitan Special Areas drain about 3 billion litres a year from the water supply — enough water to fill 1,200 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Coal seam gas fields are now the latest threat, with exploration licenses covering most of the catchment.
Enough is enough. Join us by calling on Premier O’Farrell to end these threats to our water, email him today!
Expanding coal mining and coal seam gas activities puts the narrow interests of the mining industry above the interests of the people who depend on Sydney’s catchments for their drinking water.
It is time the O’Farrell government banned damaging mining activities in our drinking water catchments once and for all.
Rivers SOS Southern Coalfield Regional Representative