WATER WORTH: Ballina MP Tamara Smith meets with the Save Alstonville Aquifer group.
WATER WORTH: Ballina MP Tamara Smith meets with the Save Alstonville Aquifer group. Aisling Brennan

Water is the new gold on a warming planet

THE devastating effects of the current drought can be felt far and wide.

One can scarcely look at the news or pick up a paper without feeling for the plight of the 98 per cent of communities across the state who are affected.

Coupled with the predictions that this will be one of the hottest summers on record and the continued denial of state and federal governments to acknowledge that we are in a climate emergency, it is difficult to see a way out of this situation.

The blame-shifting within the government is dizzying, the proposed solutions are short-sighted.

We are fortunate in our area to have side-stepped some of the devastation currently being experienced by our inland neighbours.

But now is not the time to become complacent. On a warming planet, water is the new gold.

This week saw a huge win on water in our community - a proponent who had lodged a development application to mine vast quantities of water from an aquifer on the Alstonville Plateau formally withdrew their application.

A development of this type could have seen water extraction from the aquifer for agricultural use sold to retail companies for industrial use and then sold back to us as bottled water or soft drink.

I am proud to have supported our farmers and community on this issue. This week their tireless efforts finally come to fruition.

It was a great win for our community as there is no social licence to export food-growing water and drinking water for commercial exports such as soft drink.

Every day it becomes more evident that we are in a climate emergency.

The government's continued denial of this does not make it any less true.

We know that global warming is the defining challenge of our time and water security is crucial.

Throughout the years of opposition to water mining in Alstonville, we were told that the Alstonville aquifer basically contained an unlimited supply of water - as though that somehow justified using it for industrial extraction.

There is simply no social or environmental licence to use underground aquifer water in food-growing land for industrial extraction.

In a climate emergency, water for food growing and drinking is the absolute priority and we have to protect it.


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