On this page we focus on groundwater and especially the Gnangara groundwater system - but this time the focus is on CREW and their campaign to protect our drinking water.
SAVING PERTH’S WATER SUPPLY by the CREW
Who are CREW and what’s the issue?
Clearwater Revival of East Wanneroo (CREW) is a resident’s initiative started in 2002 to protest against the threat to public drinking through a proposed a huge industrial estate in East Wanneroo on state owned land within the Priority One (P1) public drinking water resource boundary of the Gnangara Mound.
We could say CREW stands for Everyone’s Water because East Wanneroo sits adjacent to and on top of the P1 public drinking water resource boundary of the Gnangara Mound which supplies 60% of Perth’s water (water for approximately 700,000 of Perth’s people).
Perth has enjoyed a good quality and cheap source of water courtesy of ‘mother nature’ since its inception. More water has been pumped out of the Gnangara Water Mound to supply the water needs of Perth’s residents than is being put back by nature and thereby endangering the ecology of local lakes, wetlands, heath and bushlands.
What has gone before…
In the late 1990s a previous Liberal state government was resuming land in this area to create the P1 boundary in order to protect Perth’s drinking water. The Report of the Select Committee on Metropolitan Development and Groundwater Supplies Recommendation 20.1 states
Furthermore, in the 2001 Gnangara Land Use and Water Management Strategy Final Report (under the previous Liberal Court government) these areas were to be brought back to natural bush and parklands. This document gives a wealth of information about the planning for this area and why protecting the boundaries of the Priority One drinking water boundary is of absolute importance.
Despite reports and recommendations such as this, in late November 2009 the state government proposed a huge industrial estate in East Wanneroo on state owned land within the P1 public drinking water resource boundary. The plan also included urban development on high risk acid sulphate soils around the area’s lakes.
Despite wording in the draft proposal stating time and again the importance of preserving the wetlands and heritage sites, the “implementation guide” proposes wiping off the map a conservation category wetland plus an important Aboriginal heritage site within the wetland.
Opposition against this reckless proposal to endanger our water supply grew; coming from the City of Wanneroo, state Labor Party and state Green party who all oppose this plan as well as Perth citizens who hear of the plan and understand the threat to of Perth’s water supply.
In March 2010, CREW organised a rally of around 360 people marching to the local member’s office, presenting MP Paul Miles with questions for Minister for Planning, John Day, at question time in parliament.
In April 2012, after all the trouble with the proposals and an election due, a letter came from Paul Miles to local residents about the ‘Economic and Employment Lands Strategy’ that would now only allow ‘light’ and ‘general industry’ but would not include ‘Special Industry’ options.
The WA government has just announced it has committed 100 million dollars for recycling water back into the public drinking water source areas of the Gnangara mound. That water will be highly treated and to what extent the government will fully commit to this project remains to be seen.
Will the government provide the hundreds of millions dollars required to fully implement the re-cycling of water as proposed by the Department of Water, Department of Agriculture and Food WA, Department for Planning and Infrastructure, Department of Environment and Conservation in the 2009 Gnangara Sustainability Strategy?
Drinking water produced from desalination plants and recycled water is not cheap, so why put polluting industry on top of Perth’s purest water source? Surely this makes no sense.
The other question that needs to be answered is, what is the government going to achieve by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to enhance the value and longevity of the most valuable pure water source in Perth when they are determined to place polluting industry on top of it?
Our plea to John Day, Minister for Planning
Why desecrate a drinking water source for short term gain? Why not help to maintain and preserve this great water source by recycling water back into the P1 area of the Gnangara Mound as proposed by the GSS and support the invaluable role it plays in the health of the ecology of Perth as well as a valuable water resource for all living here?
After the questionable planning manoeuvres of the past four years and contradictory documents published within weeks of each other, having trust that the government has as its priority the quality of this precious water source is extremely difficult. Their current documents still show the P1 drinking water pollution control area as a ‘Preferred Industrial Site’.
Mr John Day, you were also one of the five members of parliament who sat on that all important Select Committee on Metropolitan Development and Groundwater Supplies and signed off on its recommendations including that development of industry should not be permitted in ground water areas used for public water supply:
Please now do the right thing for the future of Perth and its citizens.
Click here for a full report on the CREW's campaign to protect our drinking water.
Click here to go to the CREW's website to check out their campaign and subscribe to their newsletter.
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