Gold Coast water mining in the spotlight

The Queensland government says it's powerless to stop water extraction below Mount Tambourine.
The Queensland government says it's powerless to stop water extraction below Mount Tambourine.

State and local government officials are at odds over who has the power to stop water being sucked from a Gold Coast mountain while a school runs dry.

Tamborine Mountain State School has reportedly told parents its bore is running out and students should be turning up to class with extra water.

The Queensland government is facing community calls to step in because water is being taken from the ground in the area, bottled and sold by beverage giants like Coca-Cola.

The government says it does not have the authority to curb the extraction unless a water shortage is declared, Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said.

"As I have previously said, groundwater is not regulated on Mount Tamborine and so my department does not have the power to limit take," he said in a statement.

His office said it was an issue for the council - a claim disputed by Scenic Rim regional mayor Greg Christensen.

Mr Christensen says his council doesn't have authority over water mining permits and underground water is controlled by the state government.

"Council has no authority to give anyone access to that water," he said.

"What council has responsibility for is the development applications above the ground."

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola Amatil, who own brands including Mt Franklin Water, said they purchase water which is mined from the Gold Coast Hinterland but ensure it comes from sustainable aquifers.

"Since 2003 we have maintained a program of hydrogeological studies for all of the sites we purchase from," the spokesperson said.

"According to a 2011 QUT study, even in worst-case conditions the volume of water extracted for bottling at Mount Tamborine represents 0.2 per cent of the amount restored to the aquifers from annual rainfall."

Australian Associated Press