The project area lies within the Hawkesbury-Nepean basin, an area traversed by several drainage lines, all of which ultimately discharge into the Wingecarribee River. The Wingecarribee River forms part of the Warragamba Dam catchment.
Around one quarter of Warragamba Dam’s catchment comprises of special areas where public access and activities are restricted to protect water quality. The project area is not located within a special area, nor is the nearby Medway Dam.
The project water storages, stockpiles and the coal preparation plant (CPP) have been designed to be located outside the catchment of Medway Dam. The project will be required to manage surface water to ensure water quality is maintained.
Importantly, the Hume Coal Project will meet the stringent requirements of the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) Sydney Drinking Water Catchment 2011 to protect surface water and the ecosystems that depend on it. This requires that any development – not just mining – would have a neutral or beneficial effect on water quality. Hume Coal commits to this principle.
Hume Coal understands the importance of the Medway Dam. For this reason no mining is proposed beneath Medway Dam. Additionally, the project will not be sourcing water from the dam and will not be discharging excess water from the mine into the dam. There will be no impact on the water quality of Medway Dam.
Hume Coal is required by law to comply with the Drinking Water SEPP, WaterNSW Guidelines and the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) so as to protect drinking water supplies.
Hume Coal will demonstrate that its low-impact mine proposal meets the requirements of the States’ Aquifer Interference Policy (AIP). Hume Coal commits to meeting the requirements of this NSW Policy to manage our important and shared groundwater sources.
The significance of water, particularly groundwater, was recognised as a key necessity in the very early stages. It is for this reason the project has invested heavily in undertaking one of the most robust and thorough water studies for a project of this size in NSW.
Monitoring of the groundwater systems in the area commenced in November 2011. Since that time the monitoring network has expanded to 65 bores at 22 sites, 10 stream gauges and 18 surface water quality monitoring locations. Data is collected automatically using loggers at 6 hourly intervals for groundwater and 15 minute intervals for surface water.
Our water specialists have collected four years of real time water data to ensure assessment of the project is fully understood. Our findings have shown that the strata above the coal seam is not uniform and that the sandstone is highly variable in terms of water storage and connectivity. It is for this reason the project groundwater assessment examined the differential impacts on individual properties and licensed bores.
Results of the groundwater modelling assessment have indicated that impacts will be temporary, thanks to an innovative mine plan designed to return excess water and seal off completed panels once they are mined. This will allow a fast groundwater recovery to occur both during and immediately after mining, and will ensure that that any impacts will be spatially limited to the area immediately surrounding the mine.
This will be good news for both the local landholders and the rehabilitation of the mine. Measures will be taken to protect farm bores in accordance with the Aquifer Interference Policy.
Water Advisory Group
The Hume Coal Project Water Advisory Group has been established to take into account technical advice and community feedback on the baseline water assessment that is being undertaken for the Project, and to facilitate collaboration and engagement with the community and to provide opportunities to have informed input into the water investigation assessment process.
Click here to view copies of the Hume Coal Project Water Advisory Group (WAG) meeting minutes.