Concerns about bottling in the Tweed
Water is a precious resource in Australia, of intrinsic concern to us all. Yet water rights are often in dispute; mining can jeopardise water quality and quantity; and sharing often limited reserves can place community relationships under strain. EDO NSW continues to apply and advance the law concerning this most vital resource.
Read this account from our Annual Report 2017-2018 of our response to concerns about water bottling in the Tweed valley:
In 2017, a group of Tweed valley residents contacted our Advice line to raise concerns about the way in which water bottling developments are assessed, approved and enforced.
Water bottling – the extraction, processing and bottling of groundwater for sale - is controversial, as it can compete with other water users and have adverse impacts on groundwater-dependent ecosystems. These operations also generate considerable plastic waste and water transport tankers can impact the amenity and safety of people living in rural areas.
With bottling looking set to expand in the Tweed valley, EDO NSW coordinated a response. Our legal Outreach team conducted a workshop on water regulation and enforcement; and engaged with the local council to educate it on the approval process for bottling facilities. Our work clarified the applicable legal standards for both the Council and local community, highlighting the scientific studies needed to support a development application for a bottling facility.
With our assistance, the client produced a detailed report alleging ongoing and systemic breaches of development consent conditions for four local water bottling facilities and setting out the range of enforcement options available to Council. We travelled to the Tweed to brief Councillors on their powers and responsibilities as the regulator under law. We were able to work constructively with Council to ensure the full range of investigation and enforcement options was understood. Since then Council has taken decisive steps to ensure water bottling operations in the Tweed are complying with the law.
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