OFA comments on the proposed changes to streamline permissions for water takings for construction site dewatering activities and foundation drains. OFA is very pleased to see that current rules in the Regulation will continue to apply if construction site dewatering is subject to an Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR), including the requirements to assess potential impact on other water users and the ecosystem, and a public complaint procedure.
OFA is concerned about the removal of the current water taking limit of 400,000 litres of groundwater per day for one or more dewatered work areas at a construction site. We are also opposed to the exemption of foundation drainage systems from a Permit to Take Water (PTTW) for takings under 379,000 litres of water per day, without putting in any additional oversight in its’ place. Unfortunately, examples exist of substantial interference with agricultural properties, their wells and water sources caused by construction dewatering. We are concerned that removing this daily limit on construction site dewatering proposals, or exempting foundation drainage systems from a PTTW could lead to exacerbating the already existing problems.
OFA recommends stronger recourse methods be put in place for neighbours who are negatively affected by construction dewatering or foundation drains systems.