Christmas Bells

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Kangaloon Aquifer

Now that the gaol issue "appears" to have passed over to the Shoalhaven, who is going to stop the madness of draining the Kangaloon Aquifer?

(Photo: Kangaloon hills - from Tourist Road)

Wingecarribee Shire Councillor, and local representative, Clr Larry Whipper issued a statement about the proposal to drain the Kangaloon Aquifer, the day after the Premier announced the proposal. However, little seems to have been heard of the proposal since.

Unfortunately, I believe that the State Government has the power to simply go ahead and drain the Kangaloon Aquifer without any consultation. The Sydney Catchment Authority owns the land where the test bores are located. They presumably own the water, or more importantly, they think they do.

We might hear not another word about this proposal, until it starts to happen. By then it will be too late.

We need the local Council and all Environmental Organisations to start directly lobbying the Government and local Members of Parliament. At the very least, there needs to be an independent "audit" of this proposal. And I do not mean asking the SCA to prepare a "Draft Environmental Impact Statement" for their own proposal. It needs to be independently researched.

Photo: Mixed Eucalypt forest, Tourist Road, Kangaloon. This "dry" sandstone country is where the Kangaloon Aquifer is proposed to be "drained". (100 metres from a "test bore"). It is on sandstone rock, which has a highly porous surface, but which traps subterranean water at deep levels.

<>However, subterranean aquifers are not just "deep water", they actually support the springs in the basalt hills which sit above the sandstone country. The first photo (above) was taken about 5 Kms from this site. In all probability, draining the Kangaloon Aquifer at this point (at left) will have more effect on the first site (above) than here, at the actual point of extraction of the subterranean water.

So, the proposal actually threatens the classical "Green Heart of the Highlands" and the "Yarrawa Brush". It is the springs at the tops of the hills which will be the first to be affected. From then on, everything else will be affected, in turn. The springs maintain the tree growth (and the farms). Bores operated by farmers will be affected. Then creeks will be affected. If the creeks are affected, then the rivers which feed the Dams operated by the SCA will also be affected. So the proposal for the SCA to steal water from itself.

This is short term opportunism, which risks long-term damage on the local environment. Classic politics.

The only way to "drought proof" Sydney is to introduce measures to prevent the huge waste of water which occurs there on a daily basis.

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