John Farquhar

John Farquhar Vice Chairman Berowra District Community Association
John Farquhar Vice Chairman Berowra District Community Association

Since forever our creeks and rivers have delighted us with their beauty and have attracted visitors and locals alike. The heritage of all the people of this shire lies in these waterways.

Over the past year and beyond, one of our residents, a member of the Berowra & District Community Association Inc.(BDCA), took a close interest in the state of the waterways and was shocked to see the deterioration in the water quality. He took a series of samples which confirmed what he suspected.

When this was expressed to the ‘authorities’ where they were put down as irrational: their own “real” tests showed different results – ones allowing the EPA, Hornsby Shire Council (HSC) and Sydney Water Corp (SWC) to sleep soundly.

Eventually the tests conducted by our resident were proved correct and the waters of Calna Creek, Waitara Creek and Berowra Waters Creek are confirmed as polluted especially after Heavy Rain. They are unsafe for swimming – and decidedly unsafe to drink!

Are the SWC treatment works up to the job? Why did HSC not have sufficient signs to warn all visitors? Who really cares about us?

SWC walked the BDCA through their Hornsby treatment works and tried to explain the problems. HSC are now off the hook with NPWS installing signage but have downplayed the problem by ‘qualifying’ the level of pollution.

The fact remains the waters are not safe – now we know! Or do we?

SWC acknowledged that Hornsby Shire residents contribute to the cost for the highest control for storm-water run-off of all NSW councils. If the SWC was given sufficient funding and there was public acceptance, they could discharge water fit to drink. It appears that there is currently a trade-off between funding and the desire to provide potable water from sewage.

SWC shows the problem is further exacerbated by polluted run-off from land surfaces entering the waterways.

We as residents also add to the problem- for example when we believe the advertising that says “flushable” wipes. That means they will flush away but doesn’t say how they block up the sewage works. Is the real problem our attitude and land use or just plain overpopulation? Our planning departments say they have checked the proposed population expansion levels are OK and all systems check out but is it? –  NOT from our findings.

The good folk in Community Associations and some individuals, are interested enough to follow up on “authorities” and KEEP the B******s honest. But we all need to keep at it.

John Farquhar is a member of BDCA. They can be contacted via email at:

Leave a Reply