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Member Group Spotlight: Tweed Water Alliance Inc.

When was your group formed and why?  

Tweed Water Alliance Inc was formed in early 2017 in response to four water extraction for bottling operations in the Tweed Shire. We call this ‘water mining’ as a campaigning tool and our activities ramped up in late 2018 when a new Development Application was approved to extract groundwater for bottling.

We developed a niche campaign to target water mining and work towards reducing the demand for bottled water.

Water mining is:

  • based on no valid research that it is sustainable
  • sending huge amounts of groundwater away in road tankers to be put in one-use plastic bottles.


Our community spontaneously stopped the water trucks in Uki at the height of the campaign.


How many members do you currently have? What are the key skillsets and areas of experience across your group? 

Our membership is ten at best. We are not a large popular movement. There is a core committee of five who are highly skilled across 

  • legal research
  • freedom of information (GIPA) processes
  • development planning
  • engineering and technology 
  • communication and political lobbying

The five core individuals are supported by a barrister and a very senior public servant who provide expert advice. We are also supported by a huge community awareness.

We have an emailing list of around 1000 people, social media presence (that we use sparingly) and a reputation for punching well above our weight when it comes to holding people to account.


We invented doctored images long before AI thought of them.


How long have you been a member group with NCC for now? What are some key collaborative actions you’ve taken with the NCC network?  

This is our second year of membership of the NCC. Our secretary is part of the Water Working Group. Our campaigning is (deliberately) very narrow, focussing on groundwater preservation; we support the NCC where we can and always seek opportunities to collaborate in its activities, such as the annual Picnic for Nature.


What projects are you focusing on currently?  

We are working on holding Tweed Shire Council officers to account. We allege, with supporting evidence, that one of the water miners is ignoring Land and Environment Court orders that required them to wind back their (currently) 28Ml annual extraction to 5Ml by May 2022. We are now heading towards the Local Government Ombudsman and the Local Government Minister to try to get the Council to enforce the orders they are party to. 

The September 14 2024 local government elections give us the opportunity to put the ‘Stop Water Mining’ message front and centre of the electorate. We’ve won the support of six of the seven current Councillors. We were instrumental in having water mining  taken off the Tweed Local Environment Plan 

We want to stop operators whose activities (such as damaging roads with their tankers, creating unnecessary noise and traffic hazards, plastic pollution and damaging groundwater stocks) cost our communities. There is no social or economic benefit to our shire whatsoever.


A lot of people stand behind our campaign.


What are the biggest challenges you face as a group in achieving your goals at the moment? 

The biggest challenge is the long game of getting the legislation changed so bottled water goes the way of cigarettes. Plastic pollution is the toxic by-product of this egregiously wasteful industry.

The second biggest challenge is navigating the labyrinthine regulation that permits this industry and ensuring across-the-board accountability.



Water tankers thunder through our communities at all hours of the day and night even with limited operating hours.


Anything else you’d like to add?

We welcome opportunities to collaborate with other like-minded groups and work with local residents, residents’ associations and a wider network to keep the message strong and precise. We’re happy to assist others who might be thinking of opposing this industry in their areas. 

We welcome new people to join us on our newsletter emailing list. Please click here to go to the opt-in form. It’s a good read, between weekly and monthly depending on what’s on. You can of course opt out at any time. 

You can also contact us through:



Direct email:     [email protected] 



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