20 December: Scenic Rim Regional Council shares the Tamborine Mountain community's concern to ensure we do all that is possible to protect the Tamborine Mountain aquifer from unnecessary impacts.
Scenic Rim Regional Council shares the Tamborine Mountain community's concern to ensure we do all that is possible to protect the Tamborine Mountain aquifer from unnecessary impacts.
During previous community consultation for the Scenic Rim Regional Council Draft Planning Scheme the community were very strong in their opposition to any additional water extraction because the health of the aquifer was of upmost importance to them.
Establishing new bulk water supply tanks and pumping facilities for local supply, without any development approval, is a breach of the Planning Act. Council understands in one recent instance a new bore has been sunk supposedly for this purpose.
Scenic Rim Regional Council is aware of two businesses on Tamborine Mountain, which had sought to rely on Section 166 of the Planning Act to provide groundwater to water carriers without the necessary development approval. Both businesses said they were using these powers to undertake an activity they considered to be necessary because of an emergency.
The activity of extracting water without the appropriate authority is only deemed necessary under Section 166 of the Planning Act if there is an imminent and definite threat requiring immediate action to ensure a person's life or health is not endangered.
Commercial water carriers who service Tamborine Mountain still have ready access to potable water from neighbouring water supply authorities (including Urban Utilities, Gold Coast Water and Logan Water). Therefore under Section 166 of the Planning Act extracting water without the appropriate authority is not deemed necessary given there are other water supply options available to ensure a person's life or health is not endangered. Council will continue to proactively monitor the situation to assess if the thresholds for the Section 166 application are triggered.
With more than 97% of Scenic Rim Regional Council's geographic region relying on bore and tank water, Council recognises water supply is a serious issue for residents and businesses in our communities as a result of the drought. Council strongly urges communities to prepare and plan ahead by booking bulk water delivery with enough lead time to meet their needs.
Council will continue to liaise with the water utilities and the broader water carrier industry to verify status of resupply availability from the full range of legitimate sources. Council will continue to liaise with the Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy about the future management of the Tamborine Mountain aquifers with a focus on long-term sustainability.