Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Sucking Newnes Plateau Dry

“Centennial Coal is sucking the lifeblood out of Newnes Plateau. Everyday 37,250,000 litres are pumped from the Clarence, Angus Place and Springvale mines that operate under the Plateau # . Over then next few years I predict that the Nationally Endangered Shrub Swamps on the Plateau will die back due to loss of groundwater,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“To pump the equivalent of more than 20 Olympic swimming pools of water a day from under Newnes Plateau must have an effect on the delicate ecology of Plateau. Centennial Coal claims that this vast amount of water comes from underground aquifers unconnected with the surface, or if connected, then not connected with the Newnes Plateau. Its claim is without any evidence to support it,” Mr Muir said.

“Last year Centennial Co al won a Green Globe Award for its “Springvale-Delta Water Transfer Scheme”, which is designed to pump 30 million litres per day, but has averaged a transfer rate of 15.55 million litres per day”, he said.

“Centennial claims a “symbiotic relationship which now exists between the mine and the power stations will ensure that the reliability of supply of each commodity is enhanced.” Yet the project did not require any public comment and review”, Mr Muir said.

“For this Transfer Scheme, the forests on Newnes Plateau were cut asunder for the water transfer scheme creating ugly gashes through forest and heathland. Pipelines, powerlines, pumps and water tanks were installed without an environmental impact statement. Yet, incredibly, all this abuse and secret deal making won a Green Globe Award,” said Mr Muir.

“At current production levels, at least 6,000,000,000 litres of water per annum, enough to supply a population of 30,000 people is pumped under the Springvale-Delta Water Transfer Scheme , but these levels are projected to double during the life of the project. These large volumes of water are expensive to pump, and the lack of a thorough environmental impact assessment could well backfire on Centennial Coal,” he said.

In addition to the Transfer Scheme, the Clarence Colliery pumps another 15 million litres a day of polluted water into the World Heritage Area and Angus Place a further 6.7 million litres a day to the Coxs River,” said Mr Muir.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)