Building on the long history of walking for social justice – from Mohandas Gandhi to Martin Luther King – Sydney residents can walk to save our drinking water from being drained and cracked by mining exploration, starting on 21 February.
The journey will begin at 10am at the Cataract Dam on Saturday February 21 and end at State Parliament at midday Saturday February 28. Anyone can walk for as little as half an hour or as long as they like.
Greens candidate for Drummoyne, Alice Mantel will be walking on Thursday 26 February starting at Parramatta and ending at the Auburn Botanical Gardens.
Coal seam gas (CSG) fracking is now taking place within 300m of housing in the Camden and Campbelltown regions. The walk will pass these areas on the first and second days.
Most of Sydney is covered by Coal Seam Gas exploration licenses. These were temporarily frozen by the state government, but can be reactivated at any time. Apex Energy has a license near Warragamba Dam, and more recently the State Government’s Chief Scientist report could open the door to more fracking in Sydney’s water catchment.
The NSW State government is dismantling Sydney Catchment Authority at a time when its expert knowledge on protecting drinking water from mining is crucial.
In addition, the Federal government has offered funding to State governments as an incentive to privatise water. Premier Mike Baird welcomed this but has not yet publicly introduced the idea of privatisation. This could easily occur after the forthcoming NSW state election in March.
Ms Mantel called upon Premier Baird to rule out any such privatisation. “Protecting the precious water reserves of NSW requires banning all coal seam gas mining and keeping all water in government hands in trust for the citizens of the state,” she said.
Some of Sydney’s most reliable rainfall-fed drinking water sources have been cracked and drained by underground longwall coal mining, upstream from Woronora, Cataract, Cordeaux and Avon dams. The route will include stops to meet the Mining Minister, multi-cultural and multi-faith events and a rally to support Sydney Water employees.
A map of the route and further details can be found at www.walk4water.net