LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The Arid Lands Environment Centre supports investment in exploration for water resources but is concerned that the pace of water exploration is outstripped by development applications that exploit the resources.
We have a Northern Territory Government that has currently locked itself in with shale gas exploration that uses the inherently risky process of fracking, while also over-allocating water resources in at least one basin in the NT.
The process for water planning in the region is backwards. The planning process for water in the NT is a shemozzle. Firstly the strategic indigenous water reserves were removed. Then we had a review of the Water Allocation Plan with the extraction caps removed and then not taken back to the community for consultation.
Meanwhile, an application to triple water extraction from Rocky Hill to almost a third of the town’s annual use was being considered, as a discussion with Territorians on Our Water Future was started.
The NT Government needs to consider the long-term implications of resource development for Central Australia. It is good that money is being invested in understanding the water resource, but this has to be matched with responsible policy making.
‘The current approach to environmental impact assessments is that the impact of each project is considered in a vacuum to everything else. This can no longer be the case, the cumulative impacts of the vast multitude of industries being proposed out here must consider the individual impacts of the whole.
The NT Government must use the information from its drilling program to build a knowledge bank that allows for the sustainable development of the water resource. However, the big concern is that venturing down this path without a moratorium on fracking in the NT will see the tragic abuse of our most precious common pool resource – the groundwater that nurtures all life out here.
Jimmy Cocking (pictured)
Director, Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC)
No sense in water search without fracking moratorium
LETTER TO THE EDITOR