The National Water Commission says Governments need to do more to ensure that water impacts from mining activities are addressed explicitly.
In its latest biennial assessment of the implementation of the National Water Initiative, the NWC has found that the regulation of coal seam gas developments are not being fully integrated into water planning arrangements.
The commission’s report, released yesterday, said that while the NSW government has introduced reforms which require coal seam gas developments to obtain water licences, Queensland’s arrangements “remain outside water planning and management frameworks.”
The Commission has found that the coal seam gas industry could extract around 300 GL per year from groundwater systems over the next 25 years, compared to the 540 GL per year currently extracted from the Great Artesian Basin.
Nationals leader in the Senate Barnaby Joyce said Labor was so “busy in its concern for CO2” it had forgetten about H2O.
“The Labor party is just so busy frolicking that up to 300 GL (300,000,000,000 litres) a year of water from one of the nation’s most precious resources, the Great Artesian Basin, that it seems to have been given away without water licences to coal seam gas operators.
“Some farmers have lost up to 95pc of their groundwater in NSW.”
The Nationals passed a motion at their recent Federal Council which called on the government to ensure that the regulation of coal seam gas developments “are properly evaluated under national water planning processes.”
Mr Joyce said it was damning that the Federal Government had not yet responded to the recommendations made by the NSW to its last biennial assessment of the implementation of the NWI in 2009.
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