Some water extraction operations could be banned from a Northern Rivers council area.
Some water extraction operations could be banned from a Northern Rivers council area. Ron Burgin

Water extraction targeted in unanimous council decision

WATER extraction for commercial bottling could be halted in one Northern Rivers shire.

Ballina Shire Councillors unanimously supported a motion, put forward by Cr Jeff Johnson, at Thursday's meeting.

This came in light of news Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water, Niall Blair, announced the NSW Chief Scientist would investigate water extraction industries.

The council will now receive a report on options to amend its Local Environment Plan to "prohibit water extraction for the purposes other than for agricultural or domestic uses".

Councillors also agreed to write to the State Government, including Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water, Niall Blair, "calling for a halt to any new water licenses for non agricultural purposes such as bottled water within the Ballina Shire".

"As part of this correspondence clarification is requested on whether existing licenses can be transferred to third parties for non agricultural uses", the motion read.

Cr Johnson has welcomed his colleagues' support of the motion.

"It's heartening that the State Government are now looking into this matter as a result of community concern and the influx of enquiries about water extraction within the Ballina Shire and beyond," he said.

"Further information and action is needed to prevent the horse from bolting on this important issue.

"The protection of our underground fresh water reserves and aquifers were a major consideration in the fight against coal seam gas in our area and as a community we need to ensure that local council's and other government departments and representatives have the appropriate regulations in place to ensure the long term health of this precious resource."



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