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Miner has farm water obligation

Claire TyrrellCountryman
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Karara Mining will be responsible for securing farm water supplies if its drawdown has an adverse affect on farm bores.

The miner's licence conditions were embedded in the Department of Water's (DoW) final statement of response to appellants against Karara's water application.

DoW issued its final response to the 27 public submissions made during the public comment period a week after Water Minister Bill Marmion granted the water licence.

The statement covered a host of issues raised by landholders over the Karara decision, including community impacts, licence management and hydrological concerns.

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A thorough monitoring process is an integral part of the miner's licence conditions and monitoring sites will be anchored at farm bores.

DoW acknowledged the lack of information about the Parmelia aquifer available before the Karara decision.

"Karara Mining was required to conduct their own hydrogeological investigation to improve understanding of the aquifer and determine the potential impacts of abstraction," DoW stated.

"DoW evaluated this investigation as part of the assessment process."

Appellants were critical of the department's lack of involvement in the monitoring process, but DoW assured it would conduct audits of the miner's data.

Many expressed concerns about seepage of saline water from the Yarragadee aquifer into the fresh Parmelia aquifer.

The Urella fault, which acts as a barrier for water movement between these aquifers, is crucial to the quality of the water source.

DoW said that Karara had undertaken extensive testing and would construct a monitoring bore to ensure its drawdown would not impact on the Yarragadee aquifer.

"Water level data and hydrochemical testing undertaken by Karara Mining support the conclusion that water is not moving between the aquifers to either side of the fault," DoW stated.

"Karara will construct a monitoring bore to ensure the effects of abstraction do not extend east of the fault."

The department admitted little was known about recharge rates of the Parmelia aquifer.

It said this lack of knowledge compounded the need for "continued monitoring" of the miner's bores.

DoW invited appellants to meet the department about Karara's licence in October.

Landholders have until September 23 to inform DoW if they would like to attend the October meeting.

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