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Sunday, 29 June 2008
Coca Cola Amatil caught out breaching bulk export condition in trial at Peats Ridge Springs?
Mood:  sharp
Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2008 2:50 PM
Subject: New trial consent condition for CCA: C Moore TRIAL implies ban on bulk export by condition 1D and cl 1.5 GTA in court consent, also 11ML/28 days limit in 1A

Dear Mr De Silva/Newcastle office of the Dept of Water & Energy

New trial consent condition for CCA: C Moore TRIAL implies ban on bulk export by condition 1D and cl 1.5 GTA in court consent, also 11ML/28 days limit in consent condition 1A

I write in relation to Coca Cola Amatil at Peats Ridge Springs as an agent for public interest objector Mr Diamond, and refer to our correspondence of 5th June. I include a full copy of our email of 5 June 2008 below attached. 
At the hearing before Justice Pain on 27th June 2008 there was some debate over whether bulk export of water could of itself have an impact on the aquifer as distinct from extraction for water bottling. Since then I have consulted the decision of Commissioner Moore who does put limits on rate of volume extracted that is by into his trial conditions.
I refer to the decison for a trial for CCA mandated by Commissioner Tim Moore in September 2005 [bold added]:
57 For reasons discussed with Mr Tomasetti during the hearing, I also consider that there should be a restriction on the amount of water extracted in a nominated shorter period – say twenty-eight days – to ensure that there is a degree of regularity in the extraction but with sufficient flexibility that a degree of variation in demand for product can be accommodated. The condition will, therefore, be to the following effect:

For the purposes of ensuring that there is no permanent adverse impact on the aquifer, the annual volume of water extracted from the aquifer is limited to 66 megalitres per annum
with no more than 11 megalitres to be extracted in any twenty-eight day period.

The abovementioned annual extraction volume is subject of a twenty-four (24) month trial period. The twenty-four month trial shall commence from 1 October 2005 until 30 September 2007. An application under
Section 96 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 must be made to modify this condition if permanency of the expanded annual extraction volume and/or alteration to the restriction on extraction in any twenty-eight day period is sought. Such application must not be made before 31 March 2007.
You will notice that C Moore requires that a short term cap of 11ML/28 day period is in place. Clearly he has in mind concerns over a step change in extraction rates above 11 ML in 28 days time as an adverse impact on the aquifer. But he is not willing to oppose intensive bottling up to 11 ML in 28 days:
Thus the Court Order  of C Moore of 18 November 2005 imposes this condition:
1. For the purposes of ensuring that there is no permanent adverse impact on the aquifer a trial period is imposed extending to 31 December 2007. .....
A) The annual volume of water extracted from the aquifer is limited to 66 megalitres per annum with no more than 11 megalitres to be extracted in any twenty-eight day period.  .....
D) Compliance with the Genral Terms of Approval (GTA) under the Water Act 1912 issued by DIPNR now the Department of Natural Resources ("DNR") as attached to the letter dated 28 January 2005 annexed to these conditions and marked "A".
Thus in conditon 1D C Moore adds another layer of restriction on step change in rate of volume of extraction affecting the aquifer and the groundwater dependent ecosystems so they may recover. He does this by cross referencing the court's trial conditions with "compliance with the General Terms of Approval".
Thus for instance the GTA for CCA reads:
"1.5  Water shall not be pumped from the bore authorised by the licence for any purpose other than water supply for mineral bottling purposes."
This would preclude bulk water tankers which is not "supply for mineral bottling purposes". I also note that the CCA website as of 4/6/08  similarly suggests no bulk exporting from Peats Ridge as it is
"Peats Ridge Springs, Peats Ridge (water bottling only)"
As indicated to you in correspondence  on 5th June 2008 we are advised that bulk water tankers have been extracting water from the CCA Peats Ridge Springs site from about February apparently in breach of the General Terms of Approval. Interestingly we are advised that since we raised this issue of bulk export of water tankers with you that the practice has now ceased.
We remain deeply concerned that establishment of a bulk water supply business as opposed to the already intense bottled water has a comparatively much greater risk of quantum/step change in short term intense extractions up against and beyond the 11 ML/28 day cap, and to the exclusion of even water for bottling purposes.
We ask now does the DWE have any objection to a condition of consent being expressly added to any approved DA in the future along these lines:
Condition: Water shall not be pumped for bulk tanker export off the site. No bulk water export supply business is to be established at this site.
In particular we see a 'new' express ban on bulk water in the development consent conditions merely clarifing the conditions already in the C Moore trial conditions. The fact is bulk tanker supply is potentially a distinctly higher intensity use putting the aquifer at higher risk of sudden step change unconstrained by manpower or plant limitations for the bottled water operation.
For these reasons we submit the consent authority on the current application for 66ML/YR permanent, whether the council or the court, should clarify with an express consent condition on the DA against bulk export of water. Just as it is contemplated by the interaction of the Tim Moore consent conditions to the GTA.
We are seeking your feedback and indeed agreement with this analysis. Please do not hesitate to contact the writer on tel 0410 558838 or by return email.
Secondly, we are deeply concerned that according to instructions there are 40 quarries in the Mangrove Mountain area with uncertain water extraction involved. From experience we are aware that two sand mines in Maroota - PF Formations and Dixon Sands each extract around 300 ML/YR, If there are 40 quarries extracting anything like that level at Mangrove Mountain we are quite alarmed at the level of unsustainability.
We see this as feeding into and only compounding the concern above about bulk export of water by Coca Cola into the future as an expanding business like water bottling has expanded.
We understand from our conversations over the telephone that the DWE are due to issue 'a determination' on water license usage as early as this Tuesday 1st of July 2008 and we hope that this determination will address in some fashion these over allocation concerns.
Yours truly,
Tom McLoughlin
Attach: I include below a copy for your information correspondence on EIS reform in this area and letter of Minister Rees acknowledging same above
- solicitor for Gosford City Council - Robert Byrd
- solicitor for Coca Cola Amatil - Yvonne Mckay

Posted by editor at 4:52 PM NZT

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