Cracking Woronora Dam Catchment Poses Water Security Risk

Australian Greens

A new report that was commissioned by the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) to investigate the effects of long wall coal mining beneath the Woronora Dam catchment area has discovered serious and unexpected cracks that were not predicted as part of the mine's approval.

Greens MP Sue Higginson and spokesperson for the environment and mining said "Long wall coal mining beneath water catchments is a dangerous and unnecessary activity that has put the water security of Sydney at risk.

"This new cracking of creek beds in the catchment area is really concerning and was not predicted as part of the mine project. It is not covered or anticipated under the mining approval and shows that the consequences of undermining water catchments for coal mining are dangerous and poorly understood.

"This is another serious wrong to add to the many wrongs about Peabody's coal mine operations in and under the Royal National Park and water catchment areas. Mining giant Peabody has released harmful pollution into the Royal National Park and its waters several times over the past 2 years, has previously caused cracking in the Woronora Catchment and has now caused a new type of unexplained cracking in another area. What is it going to take for the Government and regulators to stop the harm to these most important environments? The Government can not keep looking the other way while Peabody puts communities and the environment at such risk.

"Long wall coal mining should be immediately halted while a comprehensive investigation is undertaken into the extent of damage being caused to Sydney's drinking water and to the incredibly important environment of the catchment area. Our sensitive environments can not continue to withstand the pressures we are placing upon it. In this case it is literally cracking under the pressures of this unnecessary mining operation and we don't yet understand the full harm being caused.

"If there are such dramatic unexpected consequences from a project operating in a sensitive area then those activities should not be allowed to continue until the risk has been assessed. We have to take this issue seriously, this is a significant threat to the security of vital systems including our drinking water supply.

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