EIS Bite Size Series : KUR-World > Water

EIS Bite Size was developed by Steven Nowakowski, President of Kur-Alert Inc.

The Kur-World EIS has been published and is over 4,000 pages long. Our community team has distilled various major concerns from the documents.

Perusing the documents in such a short time frame is a herculean effort so I hope these little fact sheets can help give you a little grasp the enormity and complexity of this development.

The development includes the following elements – see table right.

Considering the tabled infrastructure requirements let’s look at Water:-

Kur-world – issues surrounding water

Water 

Two deep concerns come to light around Kur-World’s proposed use of water:

  • Availability
  • Quality

Availability

According to the EIS hydrologist report, there are not sufficient water resources within the site to support the development and operation of the Kur-World complex. There has not been a full hydrological study of the site and surrounding area done.

This will not only affect established surrounding residents, but also farmers on the Tablelands.

Kur-World proposes to meet their high demand for water with groundwater harvesting, rainwater harvesting and buying already-allocated licenses to use Barron River water.

These are not feasible without lasting consequences.

Groundwater and rainwater harvesting

  • Unrestricted pumping from bores can deplete the groundwater supply, greatly affecting surrounding neighbours who do not have town water. Even now, Kur-World is pumping from a drinkable groundwater supply to fill a dam for aesthetic purposes for their KUR-Cow Tourist Attraction.
  • If overland rainwater flow is captured and diverted  away from infitlration in the same catchment , the entire eco-system within the creek networks is likely to collapse.

Buying already-allocated licenses to use Barron River water

  • Water removal from the Barron Water Management Plan is tightly regulated. This means that any additional allocations that Kur-World needs will be acquired from existing licence holders. How will this affect other regional industries, especially farming, which is already facing increasing risk and uncertainty in the face of climate change and weather variability? Just last year with Tinarro at 30% capacity, they complained about water releases running to the ocean for the hydro power scheme.

Quality

If Kur-World is realised, it will impact the water catchment for Owen, Warril, and Cain Creeks. Without critical changes to the existing proposal and ongoing accountability, tainted run-off into the creek system from a development of this magnitude would be inevitable. This will affect established residents, the ecosystem and the Great Barrier Reef. These detrimental impacts will be caused by:

  • site erosion
  • increased sediment
  • contaminated run-off from the building process and increased population
  • options cited in the EIS to remove surplus treated effluent by pumping it into Hare/ Owen Creek or Cain creek.
  • recycled water from the sewerage treatment plant.

Residents

Owen Creek is the major water supply for established residents downstream of Kur-World who are not connected to town water.

Ecosystem

Owen Creek is an important aquatic habitat for the endangered Kuranda Tree Frog (only 750 individuals exist worldwide). Even small changes in water quality will threaten the sensitive breeding habitat of current populations of this and other endemic and endangered frogs.

Great Barrier Reef

The Kur-World site is located at the top of the rainwater catchment for three major creeks which flow into the Barron River at Kuranda/Myola. The Barron empties into the ocean and disperses onto the Great Barrier Reef. High seasonal rainfall in the Wet Tropics creates site erosion leading to increased sediment, which impacts water quality that flows onto the reef.

Australia has an international responsibility to protect the value and integrity of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.  Ironically, the promises of increased tourism made by the developers of Kur-World are dependent on the natural attractions this area has to offer.  Tropical North Queensland’s established tourism economy should not be put at risk through damage to the reef.

KEY MESSAGE

Kur-World must not be allowed to monopolise and contaminate the water supply, impacting residents, farmers, the ecosystem and the reef.