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Extractive industries (coal seam gas) - position statement

MidCoast Water's governing body - the MidCoast County Council - revised its position statement on extractive industries and impacts on water resources on March 15, 2016 (resolution 2016-061). The position statement is as follows:

A number of mining projects have been proposed or developed in MidCoast Water’s drinking water catchment areas. These presently include coal, coal seam gas and gold mining projects. 

MidCoast Water supports the view that current and future mining developments could, if not adequately managed and regulated, impact on surface water and groundwater systems on a regional scale.

Secure access to, and delivery of, high quality water is essential for the communities of our region for the present and into the future. We firmly believe any extractive industry should not adversely impact water resources. Current and future mining and other extractive industries approvals should not be granted until the environmental risks, as well as social and economic impacts, are rigorously assessed in consultation with MidCoast Water and publically reported. 

Consideration of impacts should incorporate appropriate temporal and spatial scales to ensure long-term effects are captured and the connectivity between elements of the hydrologic cycle is recognised.  It must also include both point and diffuse source pollution loads, and the ultimate return of diverted water to the hydrologic cycle.

The ‘precautionary principle’, findings of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer and the principles of ecologically sustainable development should be applied in approving any extractive industry development. Any approved project or development should, as a minimum, be demonstrated to maintain the existing water environment and the quantity and quality of water in that environment during and beyond the life of the development.