Bathurst councillor John Fry is leading calls for a planned pipeline connecting the proposed McPhillamys Gold Project near Blayney to the Angus Place Colliery near Lithgow to be scrapped from the development application [DA].
The DA, if approved, would see a pipeline transporting highly mineralised coal waste water from the colliery to the mine travel underground south of Bathurst, approximately near Montavella Road, Gormans Hill.
Cr Fry believes the approval of the pipeline will tempt council to tap into a polluted water source in the event of a drought.
"If we were to start tapping into that water source, which is highly concentrated, it risks polluting the entire catchment area of the Macquarie River during a drought," he said.
"I'll be taking this issue to the upcoming election."
Lithgow City Council Mayor Ray Thompson said the project could be a 'win-win'.
"It is a bit of a win-win for everybody really, I mean the water from Springvale Colliery is not water that's potable at all, it's water that could be used for the gold mine and rightfully so it's good that you can have a win-win situation," he said.
"And in saying that there would be a monetary gain for the LGA too - to get the water out there - it would come at a price for sure."
"I know there are people saying that in times of drought Bathurst (Council) would most probably want to use the water but it's water that's got a fair bit if saline in it, so not treated. They'd have to put up a major plant to use the water."
Bathurst Council has already advanced efforts with the state government in devising a stormwater harvesting scheme, which has seen $5 million worth of investment put towards the project.
But Cr Fry said there's no guarantee stormwater harvesting will future-proof Bathurst's water supply.
"Our consultants have said we'd need $100 million worth of investment to ensure water security, the stormwater harvesting program is only a fifth of what we need," he said.
"When we had half a year's worth of water left at the height of the drought, we begged Sydney Water for some emergency water from their catchment, and they outright refused."
"The water they're proposing for use in this pipeline currently ends up in Warragamba Dam, so it seems Sydney Water are quite happy to see this water pollute the Belubula catchment, where it will then end up in the Lachlan River and Wyangala Dam."
According to Cr Fry, council has already agreed to the DA conditions 'in principle', however admitted he was still waiting on a clearer response from both the general manager and mayor.
The project has previously looked at water from the Macquarie River to source the mine, but the plans were scrapped in 2017.