Former Liberal MP and Gosford Mayor, Malcolm Brooks, has urged politicians at all levels to unite in conserving the Coast’s dwindling water supplies and controlling development ahead of a huge projected population boom.
“Unchecked population growth will have a dramatic impact on our quality of life and our politicians seem to be oblivious to this fact,” Brooks said. “Without adequate planning and government action, our unchecked population growth also threatens our limited water supplies and makes the risk of running out of water more likely.
“Our major resources on the Central Coast are the natural beauty of our waterways and timbered lands, and environmental features. “Continuing unchecked and unplanned growth jeopardises the various resources that bring people to the Central Coast and provide the economic foundation for our community. “Our population in 2001 was some 290,000.
“Since that time, the population has increased to approximately 311,000, according to the Bureau of Statistics’ 2018 official estimate, and the Bureau projects a population of 414,000 by 2036.” Brooks said that although our population would increase by 30% over the next six years, our water supply would not. “The Millennium Drought that impacted the Central Coast between 2002 and 2008 saw our water supplies dwindle to less than 10%,” he said.
“This year the dry weather has seen the main storage at Mangrove Creek Dam, which provides more than 90% of the available storage, decline to less than 53%. “During the Drought, the then Gosford and Wyong Councils undertook a number of major initiatives to enhance the supply, including the Mardi to Mangrove link, the Hunter Water connection, and increased harvesting from Mooney Creek, Wyong River and Ourimbah Creek. “In addition, a number of enhancements were made to the supply and treatment systems.
“Where will our additional water supply come from? “The over populated Sydney basin won’t have enough for its own needs. “As for the Hunter Valley pipeline, constructed and used in the Millennium Drought, I believe their priority will be to protect their area and citizens. “My solution is that the Central Coast must manage its resources, including population and water usage, in a sustainable way to maintain our values and lifestyle in perpetuity.
“With population growth and climate change placing increased stress over our limited water supplies. there appears little political will (Federal, State and Council) to manage population growth or to recognise the limitations of our available water supplies.
“West of the M1 Motorway is our major water catchment and agricultural area that must be protected and preserved. “The two essentials for life are water and food, without which we humans do not exist. “All levels of government must ensure no urbanisation west of the M1.”
Source: Media release, Jan 10 Malcolm Brooks