GUIDE LETTER to Premier - in support of the protection of Sydney's water
The Hon. Barry O'Farrell, MP
Premier of NSW
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Dear Mr O'Farrell,
Please ensure that the water supply of millions of people is secured by protecting streams and swamps from mining damage, and remove the Department of Mineral Resources as the sole regulator of mining in water supply areas. This Department has allowed significant damage to essential water supplies and should no longer be trusted.
The Metropolitan Water Catchments west of the Illawarra Escarpment supply all of Wollongong’s water and 20% of Sydney’s needs. In recent years intensive longwall coal mining has begun to seriously damage these areas. Damage has been discovered at the Appin, Elouera, Dendrobium and Metropolitan Mines. Undermined streams are no longer capable of holding water, reducing the effectiveness of the catchment. The Dendrobium Mine has larger longwall panels that cause greater affects, including metre wide crevasses under the forests near Lake Cordeaux.
The surface subsidence caused by the mining has also resulted in cracking of sandstone riverbeds, draining of rock pools, collapsing hillsides and the drying out and erosion of upland swamps that previously guaranteed water flows in dry weather.
The Metropolitan Catchments must retain their ecological integrity if they are to provide a sustainable clean drinking water supply (particularly in drought times) to Sydney and Wollongong. Stream bed repairs proposed by BHP-Billiton and Peabody energy (using cement grouting, sand, cotton trash and mulch) have not been successful and cause pollution of these pristine areas. Effective protection measures to prevent damage are needed and the regulatory environment for mining in sensitive areas must be vastly improved.