Clarence River at Harwood.
Clarence River at Harwood.

WATER SUPPLY UNDER THREAT

By ANN-MARIE MAY

ROD McKelvey has a message for Queensland ? keep your hands off our water.

The Coffs Harbour City councillor has joined the growing number of voices opposed to a plan being investigated by the Howard Government to transfer water from the Clarence River to supply South East Queensland, where dam levels have reached record lows.

"We already have Coffs Harbour, Grafton and Yamba ? all growing communities ? drawing from the system," Cr McKelvey said.

"This isn't the first time the idea has been raised, and like those times there are still too many concerns."

Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Water Malcolm Turnbull said there were sound reasons to consider the cross-border proposal.

"The amount of water that South East Queensland needs is relatively small compared to the resources available in northern NSW," he said. "I don't believe there would be an environmental problem in providing that water."

Cr McKelvey disagrees.

"The Clarence might have a lot of water at the moment, but it has to be looked at as a complete system," he said.

"To remove the amount of water needed for South East Queensland would be detrimental to the river's ecosystem.

"It may serve the short-term purpose of getting water to them, but there are too many long-term environmental costs."

He also believes South East Queensland's current situation should be used as a wake-up call for large centres everywhere not making use of recycled water.

"We need to understand that water is finite resource and with global warming it is uncertain where our supplies will come from in the future," Cr McKelvey said.

n What do you think? Send your letters to the Coffs Coast Advocate, in 150 words or less, email editor@coffscoastadvocate.com.au.



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