Water Journal : Water Journal December 2013
WATER DECEMBER 2013 14 CrossCurrent New South Wales The O'Farrell Government has rejected a Labor push to keep coal seam gas activity out of Sydney's water catchments, despite a pre-election pledge to ban the practice. Opposition Leader John Robertson introduced legislation to Parliament on Thursday seeking a ban on coal seam gas operations in designated "special areas" surrounding major water storages. The move would rule out about 371,000 hectares around Sydney, the Illawarra, the Blue Mountains, the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven. A delegation of Chinese water scientists has visited the water conservation group Rivers SOS to learn more about damage to catchment areas from mining. The scientists are from the Department of Ocean and Fisheries from the Hainan Province. Caroline Graham from Rivers SOS says her group asked the delegation to take a message to the Chinese Government to stop buying coal that comes from special catchment areas in the Illawarra. Meanwhile, a group of NSW MPs has visited Sydney's drinking water catchment to view the impact of longwall mining from BHP's Billiton's Dendrobium mine. Queensland A public hearing into the ef ciency of the desalination plant on Queensland's Gold Coast will start within weeks. A report from the auditor-general found that better planning of the South-East water grid may have saved taxpayers' money. Queensland Environment Minister, Andrew Powell, has defended his department's decision to make 30 water policy, koala research and conservation workers redundant. "As a government we have committed to looking at what we do, how we do it, why we do it and whether there are better ways of doing it," Mr Powell said. "In some instances that means looking outside of government to see if there are groups, organisations, local councils, who can do the same work, to remove the duplication to ensure we get the best outcome for the taxpayers dollars." A blueprint for the exible and cost-effective management of South-East Queensland's water resources has been released for public consultation. Acting Minister for Energy and Water Supply, Andrew Cripps, said the time was right for Seqwater to start developing a long-term strategy for maintaining water security in the region. Queensland Deputy Premier, Jeff Seeney, says water created as a by- product of coal seam gas exploration is a "resource" that could be used for drinking and irrigating farmland. The recently opened Kenya Water Treatment Plant will desalinate millions of litres of salt water released as a byproduct from coal seam gas extraction every day. Australian Greens Senator, Larissa Waters, said if the salt ends up in land ll it could be disastrous for downstream communities, and Lock the Gate Alliance President, Drew Hutton, said the long-term effects were unknown. Agriculture in the Fitzroy River Basin will receive a boost under proposals contained in a new draft Resource Operations Plan (ROP) for the Fitzroy released for public consultation by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, said the draft ROP proposes a number of initiatives to support future economic development in the Fitzroy Basin. The Federal Government has approved a massive coalmining project in central Queensland that will be the largest in the country. The Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, approved the 37,380-hectare Kevin's Corner project, which is the rst to be approved since the introduction of a water trigger rule by the previous Federal Government. Northern Territory The Northern Territory Government is investigating a number of projects to increase Darwin's water supply. Documents sighted by ABC Rural show the Government is considering new dams and an innovative "wet season harvest" project, of which feasibility testing is underway. David George, from Power and Water, says work has begun on testing the feasibility of harvesting wet season ood ows from the Adelaide River. Western Australia A new web portal launched by the Department of Water opens up the Government's vast network of water information direct to clients throughout the state. The portal was developed by the Department of Water as a part of the $12.82m Royalties for Regions funded program to increase regional water availability, planning and investigation. Water Corporation has defended the State Government's decision to increase water bills this year, despite WA's economic watchdog calling for a fall, saying it will protect consumers from future "price shocks". Under a decision that came into effect on July 1, the cost to the average household for water, sewerage and drainage services increased by 6 per cent, or $79.65, to $1406.85 a year. South Australia The South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) has awarded its 2013 Environmental Excellence Awards to Treasury Wine Estates and Byrne Vineyards. The theme of this year's awards was Water. Treasury Wine Estates won the large business category for its Markaranka vineyard, located near Waikerie. A new policy aimed at reducing the impacts of urbanisation on the natural water cycle and reducing ood risks has been unveiled by the SA State Government. The Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) policy promotes urban design principles that integrate the management of the water cycle into land use and development processes.
Water Journal November 2013
Water Journal February 2014