Council's drinking water management will go on public display.
Council's drinking water management will go on public display.

Water policy, management ‘open’

COFFS Harbour City Council drinking water quality policy and drinking water management will be put on public display for 28 days following a request from Cr Sally Townley.

She asked at Thursday's council meeting for the exhibition period and for consumers to be listed as stakeholders because she wanted residents to see a link between catchment health and water quality.

Dr Townley said council's commitment to high quality drinking water was important to every resident, particularly given the serious consequences of contamination from mining.

"This document clearly links catchment health and surrounding land uses to water quality," she said.

"There are potential threats to our drinking water quality from mineral exploration leases which have been granted within the Orara and Nymboida catchments.

"Public exhibition of this document gives people the opportunity to express to council their views on the importance of protecting our catchments to ensure an ongoing supply of clean drinking water."

Altius Mining had an exploration licence for about 271sq km of the Coffs water catchment area.

"If this develops into a gold mining operation, the usual extraction process would use cyanide and can result in large amounts of contaminated 'tailings'," she said.

In 1995, thousands of water birds died at the Northparkes copper/gold mine as a result of cyanide poisoning.

In 2001 the Timbarra gold mine leach pond overflowed into the Clarence River.