Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 123, Issue 1–4, pp 419–436 | Cite as

The Great Sydney Water Crisis of 1998

  • P. L. Stein
Article

Abstract

This paper traces the history of the contamination of Sydney's water supply between July and September 1998, its impact and consequences. Routine testing found persistently high readings of Cryptosporidium and Giardia in the water supply. After initial official inactivity, health warnings were issued leading to comprehensive boil water alerts. The paper examines the issues of scientific uncertainty and the response of the Government to the crisis. In particular, the paper examines the establishment and course of the Sydney Water Inquiry, chaired by Peter McClellan, QC, which delivered its final report in December 1998. The recommendations of the Inquiry are assessed, in particular the establishment of an independent catchment management authority, augmentation of treatment processes, and upgraded monitoring and research. Implementation of the recommendations by the Government by legislative and executive act is also addressed. Finally, the lessons to be learned are discussed, especially care of the catchment and restrictions on certain types of development within it. Postcript: Amazingly, no one got sick!

Cryptosporidium contamination Giardia contamination recommendations arising out of inquiry resource sustainability Sydney Water Crisis upgraded monitoring and research of water quality water contamination water quality 

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References

  1. Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment: 1999, March, Health Stream 13, Melbourne, Australia.Google Scholar
  2. Department of Urban Affairs and Planning,: 1998, December 24, State Environmental Planning Policy No 58-Protecting Sydney's Water Supply, Government Gazette No 178, 24.Google Scholar
  3. Getches, D.H.:1997, Sectoral Conflicts over Water: Resolving tensions among Agricultural, Municipal and Industrial and Ecological Demands, Paper presented to Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  4. McClellan, P.: 1998, December, Sydney Water Inquiry-Final Report (2 volumes).Google Scholar
  5. National Audubon Society v Superior Court of Alpine County: 1983, 189 Cal Rptr 346 at 356 Sydney Water Catchment Management Act: 1998 (NSW).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. L. Stein
    • 1
  1. 1.Supreme CourtSydneyAustralia

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