Northern Rivers bottled water industry under review

Media release | 20 November 2018

Minister for Regional Water Niall Blair has today announced 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 Blair said the NSW Government acknowledges the concerns some members of the community have in relation to the impacts of the industry and the role science can play in addressing these concerns.

“I am confident the bottled water industry is operating sustainably, however Austin Curtin, Ben Franklin and Thomas George have made representations to me on behalf of their constituents and on that basis I’m happy to commission independent expert advice,” Mr Blair said.

“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 Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR), the independent water compliance authority, is auditing four water extraction operators in the Tweed catchment.

While these investigations are not yet complete, NRAR has required three plant operators to install accredited water meters on each of their extraction bores by early next year. The fourth plant was found to have adequate meters on individual extraction bores.

NRAR will continue to monitor water take activities on the north coast.

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