Ques­tions raised over wa­ter use

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By JOHN RYAN

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:

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