Groundwater worries

Alpine Shire mayor supports tri-council communities’ approach

ALPINE, Indigo and Towong shire councils expect a Beechworth forum on November 23 to hear local communities’ mounting concerns about the actual and potential impact and costs of groundwater extraction for bottled water fill.

The three councils are supporting community groups – including Myrtleford and District Landcare and Sustainability Group, Save Stanley’s Water, Plasticwise Yackandandah and Plasticwise Indigo – to explore what they believe is a challenge posed by the bottled water business to rural life and the environment.

The councils have also been collaborating to develop a shared approach to possible planning scheme changes that could allow each municipality to manage and recoup the costs of water industry impacts on community-owned infrastructure, such as local roads.

Alpine mayor Ron Janas said his council acknowledged that groundwater extraction was a lawful activity under Victoria’s Water Act.

“Our concerns are around amenity, such as the effects of truck movements creating dust and noise, but also because of our rural land strategy,” he said.

“Our rural land strategy is to keep rural land for farming.

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