WaterNSW's Mining Principles underpin WaterNSW's decision making in relation to managing mining and coal seam gas impacts on catchment infrastructure works and the Special Areas.
The principles establish the outcomes WaterNSW considers as essential to protect the drinking water catchments and Special/Controlled areas, and catchment infrastructure works. The six principles are summarised as follows:
- Quantity of water is protected - in Declared Catchment Areas, mining and coal seam gas activities must not result in a reduction in the quantity of surface and groundwater inflows to storages or a loss of water from storages or their catchments.
- Quality of water is protected - in Declared Catchment Areas, mining and coal seam gas activities must not result in a reduction in the quality of surface and groundwater inflows to storages.
- Human health is protected - in Declared Catchment Areas, mining and coal seam gas activities must not pose increased risks to human health as a result of using water from the drinking water catchments.
- The integrity of WaterNSW water supply infrastructure must not be compromised.
- The ecological integrity of the Special Areas must be maintained and protected.
- Information provided by proponents must be detailed, thorough, scientifically robust and holistic. The potential cumulative impacts must be comprehensively addressed.
WaterNSW reviews mining applications that have the potential to impact on WaterNSW catchments and infrastructure, and advises on approval conditions to protect WaterNSW assets and interests in accordance with WaterNSW's Mining Principles and more recently WaterNSW's position on longwall mining and coal seam gas activities.
The WaterNSW Board's position is that WaterNSW will oppose any longwall mining:
- within Dams Safety Committee notification areas surrounding WaterNSW's dams in the Declared Catchment
- that is predicted to damage Sydney drinking water supply infrastructure.
WaterNSW Board's position on coal seam gas is that WaterNSW opposes applications for exploration or extraction for the purpose of coal seam gas activities located within Special Areas. The Board considers that longwall mining and coal seam gas activities within these areas are inconsistent with the role, objectives and functions of WaterNSW as defined in the Water NSW Act 2014.