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It may be convenient for those campaigning to be elected or re-elected to Palerang Council to stir up hysteria about the rights of the individual being taken away, but let’s get the facts straight. At no time has it been suggested that existing rights to pump from waterways be removed. What staff tried to do in two recent DAs was recognise that the creation of several new blocks along Feagans Creek could have a marked impact on the quantity and quality of water flowing to downstream users and the Mongarlowe River. In recognition of that they recommended imposing a restriction on new blocks which would prevent any new owners (that is NEW owners, not existing ones) from extracting from the creek - supported in law and in the legal advice received. Such a restriction is common in other Council areas; in the adjoining Local Government Area of Yass Valley for example, there is a moratorium on all new bores and a new sub-division there is creating a community lot along the river with the express purpose of preventing water extraction. And a fact keenly avoided by those trumpeting injustice is that while the right to pump applies to an existing holding, it does not necessarily carry to the blocks created by a sub-division of that holding. But it was not to be, with both DAs passed without that condition, despite the information provided in the report and given on the night. This included some startling facts from the just released CSIRO report on climate change, which predicts that there will be 70 per cent more chance of drought in this region and 15 per cent reduced flow in the region’s waterways. I believe it is the duty of all councillors to look at the big picture and plan for the future sustainability of their communities, for the best interests of everyone. Sooner or later we are going to have to accept that if everyone who is lucky enough to live near a waterway must be able to extract water from it, we are going to have to restrict the number of blocks we create. The report to Council stated that “the condition is considered appropriate if Council is concerned about sustainable development and water use.” Clearly this Council, together with some of the aspiring councillors who have written on the subject to the local papers, are not.

life in the catchment  

Artist's book.

life in the catchment  

Artist's book.

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