Skip to main content

To: Hon. Anthony Roberts, Minister for Resources & Energy, Hon. Pru Goward, Minister for Planning

Stop Mining in Our Water Catchment

Stop Mining in Our Water Catchment

Dear Ministers, please do not allow the expansion of coal mining under our water catchment, coal seam gas (CSG) mining in our water catchment or the privatisation of Sydney Water.

Why is this important?

Our Sydney water supply is currently under threat from coal mining that has been allowed under successive state governments in the southern coal fields beneath the Metropolitan water catchments' Special Areas. It is estimated that the Metropolitan catchment (Cataract, Cordeaux, Avon, Nepean and Woronora dam catchments) is losing 3 billion litres of water per year due to mining. If anyone enters these areas without permission they are liable to a $40,000 fine. Yet the Department of Planning has recommended the expansion of existing coal mines to undertake intensive longwall mining under the Cataract Dam catchment. The Metropolitan catchment contributes to 20% of Sydney's drinking water and is the sole supply of water for the Macarthur and Illawarra regions (over half a million people). Mining operations undermining the catchment of Woronora Dam have demonstrated how devastating this practice is with the sandstone creek bed of Waratah Rivulet irreversibly cracked and drained.

The state government have also allowed exploratory Coal Seam Gas (CSG) wells in the Special Areas of the Warragamba and Metropolitan water catchments. There are also 95 producing CSG wells located in the Camden Gas Project with some within 200m of residences and on the flood plains of the Nepean River. The Nepean River is a source of agricultural water for the Hawkesbury/Nepean region and drinking water for North Richmond community. It is reckless to allow mining in these areas because of the risk of contamination of the surface water by fracking fluids or produced water from the coal seams.

The current federal coalition government is offering incentives for state governments to sell and privatise assets. Sydney Water is a likely target as has been done in South Australia and Victoria. Experience shows privatisation leads to an increase in prices and reduction in maintenance.

This is despite former Premier Barry O'Farrell's promise before the state election that a coalition government would not allow ("No ifs, No buts") mining in our water catchments.

In an effort to draw these issues to the attention of the public and the candidates in the lead up to the state election on 28 March, 2015 a group of concerned citizens are embarking on a Walk for Water. This is a 160km walk from Cataract Dam to Hyde Park, Sydney between the 21-28 February. You can join us for part of the journey to show your concern for our most precious resource, water. Which is becoming even more precious in an ever expanding Sydney, in a climate that NASA and CSIRO acknowledge is trending hotter and experiencing longer, more severe drought events. You can find out more on Walk for Water at


2015-03-22 09:37:59 +1100

500 signatures reached

2015-03-05 20:35:10 +1100

The Walk for Water was completed at Hyde Park on Saturday 28/2/15 after completing the 160km journey following the canals, reservoirs and pipes that our precious water takes past Broughton Pass Weir, the Upper Canal, Prospect Reservoir and into the heart of Sydney. But the petition continues till we gather enough signatures to send a strong message to the Ministers for Resources & Energy and Planning & Environment. So please share this with your friends because it is important for everyone in Sydney who drinks and uses clean water.

If you need more convincing watch Julie Sheppards talk from the official launch on Saturday 21/2/15 at or follow our journey on Facebook at

2015-02-16 15:36:59 +1100

100 signatures reached

2015-02-16 13:48:46 +1100

50 signatures reached

2015-02-16 11:31:19 +1100

25 signatures reached

2015-02-16 10:13:59 +1100

10 signatures reached