Tweed council votes to ban water mining
TWEED Shire Council has voted to ban any new water extraction and bottling facilities to protect a "public asset".
Tweed councillors backed an officer's recommendation to block new facilities in the region "on the basis of the precautionary principle", while the Gold Coast invited a company busted extracting water from the Hinterland without approval to submit a DA.
Tweed council documents detail community concerns over the sustainability of the industry and lack of groundwater data.
"The central premise driving this planning proposal is to prohibit any new water bottling facilities from being created across the rural area of the Tweed Shire, on the basis of the precautionary principle," the documents read.
Five Tweed properties have "lawful and operating consents", while five have approval but are not known to be operating.
Operations were approved at Urliup in 2003, Kunghur in 2006, Nobbys Creek in 2006, Kynnumboon in 2007 and Burringbar in 2011.
On August 1, councillors backed an alteration to Tweed's Local Environment Plan.
Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry said there was "huge community opposition" to water extraction.
"There's a lot of people who believe that it's theft of a public asset," she said.
Cr Cherry said the region's hydrology had not been examined in enough detail.
"With these times of drought and water becoming a more precious resource, we need to protect it as a public asset."
Cr Cherry said opponents of extraction were concerned about "fully laden B-doubles (trucks) trundling "right through the middle" of towns.
The documents touch on the opposition to water mining, but downplay environmental concerns and state there is "no substantial evidence" to suggest extracting water is more damaging than "intensive livestock agriculture".