Right now , there are numerous groups in NSW and Sydney, that are aghast as to how the state government of NSW is sacrificing the ecosystems of the watersheds that supply Sydney’s drinking water.
Sydney has its famous harbour, and the city, its satellites and suburban sprawl fill a large basin. To the west lies the Blue Mountains of the Great Dividing Range, unimpressive in height, but rather awkward to have found routes across. To the south and west are rivers and dams, which drain from upland plateaus. The swampy nature of those ecosystems helps to hold and filter the coastal rainfalls, and keep a score of dams filled, to supply water needs to the nearby coastal areas stretching from Sydney to Wollongong.
This beneficial geological and ecological arrangements allow gravity to deliver plentiful clean water to the city of Sydney at low cost. The Upper Nepean Part of the system was started on 125 years ago, starting with two weirs on the Upper Nepean Rivers. Tunnels, canals and aqueducts deliver water to a large reservoir at Prospect in Sydney’s West. I live near pipe head, and great bicycle pathway goes along the original lower canal from Prospect Reservoir, now replaced in function by a tunnel.
Now in defiance of advice of own agencies, and defiance of common sense, and the heritage and investment of over a century, the NSW government approved underground coal mining under the protected water catchment areas. This has produced land subsidence, cracking in the rock strata, drainage of the watershed swamps, and consequent irreversible loss of these important ecosystem services. The group Rivers SOS : http://riverssos.org.au/ has been trying to raise awareness of this for a long time. The coal mining idiots have even managed to crack one of the dam walls.
It is up to diverse environmental and community groups in Sydney to put a halt to this absolute madness.
Water is becoming the most valued commodity in the world, and will be even more so, once fossil fuel age scarcity, and global warming has overwhelmed global civilisation. The destruction to watershed ecosystems for a city is the equivalent of having partial heart and lung removal surgery on an individual. Subsequent vital capacity is permanently diminished.
What do our politicians think with? Water supply is the latest industry to be a vehicle for investors to make lots of money. Water corporations have grown from a tendency of governments to privatise water services. The idea is to generate large profits for private individuals, which corrupts absolutely. NSW has already seen what the scent of large money flows does to politicians and crony investment friends. Australian Water Holdings and ICAC : http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/icac-hears-australian-water-holdings-a-bunch-of-crooks-20140324-35cz2.html
Supply price rises, job cuts, maintenance cuts, and water quality problems are the modus operandi of major global water corporations that want to be blessed by owning the Sydneys Water Infrastructure, the investment of over a Century. Profits would then go to overseas tax dodge havens, instead to the revenue of the NSW government.
Similarly the coal mining lobby has a huge influence on government decisions. Coal mining approvals are given according to political influence, and projects with shoddy environmental impact statements get approved.
At least one politician, with a large web of influence, has managed to benefit from time in government on both Coal and Water Deals. That is the self – serving Mr Eddy Obeid. Three coal licenses were acquired cheaply. www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-government-cancels-mining-licences-tainted-by-eddie-obeid-ian-macdonald-corruption-scandals-20140120-314iv.html
Mr Obeid also and a secret stake in Australian Water Holdings. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-27/keneally-gives-evidence-at-icac-today/5348082
These particular deals were aided by elected members of parliament in trusted positions.They were found out because the perpetrators had been playing the game so long they had become greedy and sloppy. Public privatisation processes are a legal means of achieving the same ends. To these ends, the Australian Federal Government is proposing that one off bonuses taxpayer money be given to State Governments, as an incentive to sell off income earning assets. This is plain, unadulterated and institutionalised corruption.
The incentives are expected to be spent on infrastructure projects, such as new roads and rail, which would benefit large projects such as foreign owned mines. This is part of a general plan, amongst the likes of G20 nations, and WTO corporate aims, to boost global trade and international corporate profits, at the expense of national governments and environmental problems. According to economic ideology, all benefit from “competitive advantage”. The larger system effects lead to unhealthy economic growth, faster global warming, and more income inequality, and the despoilment of natural ecosystems.
States under pressure to privatise energy networks : http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/states-under-pressure-to-privatise-energy-networks/story-fn59niix-1227063363729
Economists caution government on privatisation: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/economists-caution-government-on-privatisation-20140108-30hk7.html