Two articles highlight the corporate exploitation of Australia's freshwater ecosystems.
The first is from the web journal Online Opinion and can be access here: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=9340
I've added a comment to it.
The second is the text of a piece called "Stolen Waters" and exposes BHP Billiton's theft of water from the Great Artesian Basin, a theft which is due to multiply many times as the expansion of Olympic Dam into the world's biggest open cut mine gets underway (please note that the dollar amounts cited are constantly changing on the original site at http://www:thestolenwater.com ):
BHP Billiton, the world's richest mining company, plunders Australia's precious -- and FINITE -- artesian water resource without cost, oversight or regulation.
Australia is a desert land and the nation is presently suffering from extreme water shortages. The largest river system in the nation, the Murray-Darling, is in a critical condition -- outflows to the sea have all but ceased and vital lake systems are now dust bowls; YET the plundering Transnational, BHP continues to steal high quality water for its uranium, pollution producing mine, Olympic Dam.
BHP Billiton have helped themselves to
of FREE water from the Great Artesian Basin since 1982
Sydney households pay
for the same volume of water
The massive theft of water is causing environmental damage through:
land and water salinisation
encouragement of the spread of pest plants and animals
reduced pressure in some naturally occurring artesian springs
Since 1999 the Australian Government has spent
of tax payer money in an attempt to repair the damage
Related press & references
BHP: 30 million litres of water per day for free
Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative (GABSI)
Howard urged to make BHP mine pay for water