THE Great Artesian Basin directly supports more than 180,000 people in more than 120 towns and 7600 businesses in regional and remote Australia.
As the Coalition Government announces more funding to save Basin water and restore pressure through bore capping and piping schemes (more details below), the Queensland Government continues to grant unlimited water take rights from the Basin to gas and mining companies, the only State to do so, according to the Basin Sustainability Alliance (BSA).
Queensland’s unsustainable policy and its consequences for the future security of basin water for rural communities and agriculture will be a key focus of the BSA annual general meeting to be held in Chinchilla next Tuesday, October 9.
“Since our inception in 2010, the BSA has attempted to work with industry and government in the hope we can achieve a CSG industry that preserves our groundwater resources, our lifestyle, and our ability to produce food and fibre for future generations,” BSA president Lee McNicholl said.
“To date, this has not been achieved and so the quest continues.
“The BSA believes that informed science must precede development and predicted impacts must be mitigated.
“Where the science is problematic or lacking and the risk is too high, no development should occur.
“In this scenario, we urge our decision makers not to be blinded by the lust for short term royalties and jobs. The industry cannot proceed ‘at any cost’.”
Speakers at the AGM include:
Tom Crothers, a former general manager of Water Allocation and Planning with DNRME in Queensland will address the significance of the Commonwealth Senate’s inquiry into Water Use by the Extractive Industries now due Oct 19.
Professor Jim Underschultz from the University of Queensland Centre for CSG will speak on “Understanding and measuring gas in water bores”. As depressurisation of GAB aquifers occurs through overuse, dissolved gases come out of the solution. CSG extraction depends on dewatering (depressurization) of the Walloon Coal Measure aquifer and its impact can extend to adjacent aquifers, thus compounding an existing problem.
Engineer, lot feeder and BSA committee member Max Winders will present the latest version of his firm’s 60 km x 60 km local hydrological model around his Wambo Feedlot near Dalby. Mr Winders says the model confirms that where CSG impacts are significant, detailed local groundwater impact modelling is needed, using locally relevant hydrogeological parameters rather than relying on the Qld Government’s broad-scale reporting of the OGIA’s cumulative regional model for the whole Surat Basin.
The Coalition government last week approved $8 million for a series of water-savings projects in South Australia under Interim Great Artesian Basin Infrastructure Investment Program, which will cap free flowing bores and replace open drains with pipes to protect water pressure. The investment follows $36.9 million committed to other similar projects elsewhere in the GAB area.
Meanwhile the opportunity to provide feedback on the Commonwealth Government’s draft Strategic Management Plan for the Great Artesian Basin closes this Friday, October 5 – more details here.
The Basin Sustainability Alliance AGM will be held at the Chinchilla Club Hotel from 2-5pm on Tuesday October 9. For inquiries contact Lee McNicholl on (07) 46 276 364 or mobile 0427 626 461.