Member for Lismore, Thomas George and Nationals Candidate for Lismore, Austin Curtin have welcomed the announcement today by Minister for Regional Water Niall Blair for an independent review into the impacts of the bottled water industry on groundwater sources in the Northern Rivers.

The NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer will provide advice on the sustainable groundwater extraction limits in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, as well as advice on whether the current or proposed groundwater monitoring bores are sufficient.

Mr George said the independent review demonstrated the NSW Government’s commitment to securing the future of remote and regional communities.

“This review is not about stopping groundwater extraction, which we know is very important to landholders who rely on groundwater for stock and domestic purposes.

“I asked Minister Blair to commission the review so that we have a better understanding of what groundwater extraction for water bottling, means for the long term viability of the water table.

Mr Curtin said this is an important move to ensure the Government and the community are presented with the hard facts.

“I have met with various residents and community groups, including the Tweed Water Alliance, who have raised concerns over the impact this industry is having on our important water resources,” Mr Curtin said.

“This independent review will ensure that we are in a position to make a data-driven decision to secure the future of the Northern Rivers, now and for generations to come.”

Minister Blair said that the independent review will determine what impact the bottled water industry may have on groundwater supplies.

“I have asked the Chief Scientist & Engineer to investigate the sustainability of groundwater extraction in the Northern Rivers for bottling purposes.

“Water is a finite resource and we are completing this review to make sure that water remains available into the future in the Northern Rivers catchment for all purposes including stock and domestic users and for groundwater dependent ecosystems.”

The Chief Scientist & Engineer is expected to provide his initial report by early February 2019, with a final report to be published in mid 2019.

For further information on water extraction, please visit the Department of Industry website.