BLOCKADE: Around 100 people were there for the 'Stop water mining rally in Uki' last Saturday 27 October, where residents stopped water trucks in the main street.
BLOCKADE: Around 100 people were there for the 'Stop water mining rally in Uki' last Saturday 27 October, where residents stopped water trucks in the main street. Dave Norris

Council to consider ban on extracting water for bottling

WATER extraction industries could be banned in one Northern Rivers shire.

Ballina Shire Council will consider a notice of motion brought by councillor Jeff Johnson at Thursday's meeting.

Cr Johnson's motion seeks to consider amending the Local Environment Plan to "prohibit water extraction for the purposes other than for agricultural or domestic uses".

His motion also suggests the council write to the State Government, including Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water Niall Blair to call for "a halt to any new water licences for non- agricultural purposes such as bottled water within the Ballina Shire".

Mr Blair this week announced there would be a review into the bottled water industry, to be run by the NSW Chief Scientist.

He has also suggested the council discuss the matter with Rous Water regarding water supply security for Ballina and surrounding council areas.

"The business of water extraction, or water transfer, appears to be growing in popularity, with Tweed Shire Council dealing with a number of complex applications in recent years," Cr Johnson said in the motion.

"It is important that council is in a position to proactively manage any future applications we may receive, recognising we already have one application under assessment.

"As licensing is predominantly a State Government issue it is important that current licensing arrangements reflect the community's expectations and are managed in an environmentally responsible way.

"Council needs to ensure that we do all we can to protect our aquifers, particularly on the Alstonville Plateau and other underground water supplies."

Council staff comments attached to the motion said the motion could be implemented, if supported by the council.

"This motion has no impact on the assessment of the current application before council," staff said.

The matter will be considered at the council's meeting, which runs from 9am on Thursday.



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