Water Journal : Water Journal April 2014
WATER APRIL 2014 14 CrossCurrent -- a blow to an industry pushing State and Federal Governments for permission to expand. Santos was ned $1,500 by the NSW Environment Protection Authority. The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, David Papps, has announced his intentions regarding the trade of environmental water in three New South Wales catchments. No decisions have been made, but the sale of Commonwealth environmental water allocations is being considered in the Peel River in the Namoi and in the Gwydir and Lachlan catchments, subject to prevailing environmental conditions. NSW Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner, and Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay, have announced NSW Government funding of up to $1.5 million for coastal dredging under the second phase of the Rescuing our Waterways program. Mr Stoner and Mr Gay said the program, part of the Government's Sustainable Dredging Strategy, provided a coordinated approach to improve the accessibility and health of our waterways. The ACCC has released its Draft Decision on pricing for bulk water supplied by State Water Corporation in the New South Wales Murray-Darling Basin in the 2014-17 period. The Draft Decision results in lower water bills for most of State Water's customers. Relative to previous years, price increases are modest. In most valleys, bills for general security entitlement holders are falling. The NSW Government has established a taskforce to coordinate and oversee the next stage of the review into ood management in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley. The immediate priority of the taskforce, which will work in partnership with Infrastructure NSW under the direction of an Independent Chair, is to support communities and businesses of the Hawkesbury-Nepean valley to better prepare for and respond to future ood events. The Australian Greens are calling to halt unconventional gas extraction right across the country after the contamination of groundwater from Santos' operation in north-western NSW. "Twenty times the safe limit of uranium in the water there. That's a shocking nding that demonstrates the extreme danger to communities posed by coal seam gas extraction," said Greens Leader Christine Milne. "The community has been told endlessly that there will be no contamination of aquifers, but now there is proof. You can't trust these companies not to contaminate the groundwater -- and groundwater is one of our most precious assets." NSW Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner, has announced $40 million in funding for regional infrastructure projects to promote water security under a new program, Water Security for Regions. "With much of the State facing dif cult drought conditions, now more than ever we need to be focusing on ways to prepare communities by enhancing our local infrastructure to provide improved water security. That is why we are launching Water Security for Regions, a new program offering $40 million worth of funding for infrastructure projects in regional areas that enhance water security," Mr Stoner said. Pollution in inner Sydney waterways comes primarily from industry, according to a new analysis, and it occurs during broad daylight. PhD student Hayden Beck analysed three creeks in and around the Leichhardt Council area of inner Sydney and found a toxic cocktail of pollution owing down the creeks out into Sydney Harbour. Levels of metals zinc, aluminium and copper were far in excess of of cial guidelines for water quality, while lead was also excessively high at times. Leichhardt Council made a nancial contribution to the research. The NSW Environment Protection Authority is responsible for granting licences to businesses wanting to discharge wastewater to stormwater drains. Brendan Berecry, spokesman for Leichardt Council, said the results of Beck's study are likely to change their approach to stormwater monitoring. Beck's analysis will be published in anupcoming issue of Environmental Pollution. The Golden elds Water County Council is hoping its new data network will be rolled out across its 22,000 square kilometre region by May. The $1m network will see a transmitter on every one of the Golden elds' water meters. Golden elds General Manager, Andrew Grant, says the network was successfully trialled between Cootamundra, Junee and Temora for six months. The main aim of the new system will be automatic collection of information on water use. "We will be able to notify people if they have got a leak, say on one of the larger rural properties, where leaks might go unnoticed for weeks or months," he said. "We will be able to ring, go out and have a look." Mr Grant says the primary aim is to collect data about water use, but he also sees opportunities to collect information for rural customers on livestock movement, soil moisture or rainfall. NSW Shadow Minister for Water, Barry Collier, has called on Premier Barry O'Farrell to rule out the privatisation of Sydney Water. "If the O'Farrell Government blindly sells off Sydney Water in return for a short-term funding boost by Joe Hockey, the people of NSW will be the losers in the long run," Mr Collier said. The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has released draft Broken Hill water and sewerage prices for public comment. Under the draft prices, customer bills for households and smaller businesses will increase largely in line with in ation for the majority of users in Broken Hill, with prices and bills to fall for some large water users, including businesses. Spending up to $1 billion raising Warragamba Dam wall is the best way to protect thousands of Sydney homes from being destroyed by oods, a major State Government review has found. But environmentalists say the mammoth project would be too expensive and damage a huge swathe of sensitive rivers and bush, including the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The probe into ood management in the Hawkesbury Nepean Valley, one of Australia's most densely developed ood plains, found raising the wall was the best infrastructure option for reducing the ood risk. But the work would cost up to $1 billion and have ''signi cant potential environmental costs''. Last year, then Prime Minister Julia Gillard pledged $50 million towards raising the wall by 23 metres. Premier Barry O'Farrell did not support the idea at the time, saying the review had begun. He declined to comment on the ndings.
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