Questions raised over water use
ALARM bells rang when Dubbo Photo News was tipped off about a large hire pump sitting on the Macquarie River, sucking up water through an eight-inch pipe without a metering system to document how much was being drained from the already stressed Macquarie River.
Given the recent controversy surrounding court actions involving tampering with water meters on irrigation pumps in the Murray Darling Basin, this is a hot issue.
Concerns regarding water have to be lodged with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR). After the NRAR switchboard initially asked for a report to be filled out which would have seen investigators onsite within five-10 days, a robust discussion ensued, ending when Dubbo Photo News was assured local compliance officers would inspect the pump the following morning.
It’s taken a few weeks to get a statement from NRAR so this article could be published. This is the response from an NRAR spokesperson and it’s pretty dry stuff:
“NRAR has confirmed that the entity in question held a Water Access License and Water Supply Work approval to allow water to be taken. NRAR did detect some potential issues of non-compliance around the type of pump that was temporarily in use.
“NRAR issued a Stop Work Order to ensure that any water take will be compliant with the conditions of the license and approval. NRAR will continue to investigate this issue.
“It will also continue to work with the entity, industry and the community to educate them on how to take water appropriately.”
The pump was situated on a low-level bridge leading to the Terramungamine Quarry just outside Dubbo on Bunglegumbie Road which is operated by Boral.
A Boral spokesperson was quick to reply to queries from Dubbo Photo
“We confirm our Terramungamine Quarry had to make use of a hired water pump earlier this month due to the site’s permanent pump breaking DUBBO PHOTO NEWS
down. The amount of water pumped has not exceeded our licensed water allocation.
“As an organisation whose core business is dependent on the proper and sustainable management of natural resources, we take our stewardship of water allocations very seriously, especially during periods of drought as currently being experienced in the region.” MEMBER for Parkes Mark Coulton MP was officially sworn-in to the 46th Australian Parliament last week, returning as Assistant Trade and Investment Minister as well for the first time taking on the appointment as Minister for Regional Services, Local Government and Decentralisation.
“I believe I’ve been a given a huge opportunity with this job. (It involves) issues I have been battling with since before I became a member of parliament.
“When I was mayor of a local council obviously funding for local government was important to me and as someone (who was) running a business in a country area, (as was) understanding the issues around educating kids when you live a long way from anywhere,” Coulton said.
“Having had (very close) family members who have had very serious health problems and have had to travel large distances and ultimately passed away, I understand very well and very personally the issues around the portfolio and responsibilities I’ve been given.
“I’m seeing this as an opportunity not only to deal with the issues we have at the moment, but to make some changes that will actually improve the services people will get in the region.
“It’s an opportunity that only comes your way once in a lifetime and I’m going to grab with both hands.”
A “stop work” order has been issued following questions raised over the use of an unmetered temporary pump at the Terramungamine Quarry – PHOTO: