While other Govts try to save it, Qld offers unlimited GAB water to miners: BSA

Beef Central, 30/09/2018

A CSG extracted water pond.


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.

Max Winders at his Wambo Feedlot near Dalby.

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.


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  1. Natalie Burns, 10/10/2019

    Why would any Australian govt allow any type of business to take the most crucial things from it’s people. Water is life.

  2. David chadwick, 05/10/2018

    Stupidity is not exclusive to Queensland. The Liberal and Nationals are the only political parties in NSW backing the Santos Narrabri/Pilliga project. For those to our north the Pilliga is the most critical recharge Zone in the GAB and they want to drill 850 CSG wells producing 37GL of toxic water and 430,500 tonnes of toxic salt with NO disposal plans. (As per Santos EIS of which their was a record 23,000 submissions with 98.7% against). That waste is left to either leach into the GAB or run down the creeks and rivers. (Think Murray Darling). Already with only 25 “pilot wells” there has been several “incidents” including an EPA fine of a lousy $1500 for contaminating an aquifer 22 times over the legal limit with Uranium. Thats what we have to look forward to. Door knock surveys in the Morees, Warrumbungle, Gilgandra, and Coonamble shires returned a staggering 97% against CSG. Since then the Warren and Dubbo Shire Councils have declared no CSG or associated industries such as the APA Western Slopes CSG pipeline. Shame on the Nationals and Liberals for betraying their constituents and being that spellbound by the mining sector. Blind loyalty to the mining sector at the betrayal of the Ag sector must be accounted for. Jeopardising our ability to produce food and sell it under our clean green image must surely come into discussion or are we simply going to ignore the opportunity cost of Agriculture’s $64b contribution to our GDP. How can the driest inhabited continent on earth jeopardise it’s only secure water supply? No wonder there are television ads running at the moment saying “Anyone But the Nats” and “Put the Nats last”. I guess that’s the price of betrayal.

  3. Rhondda Alexander, 03/10/2018

    Unlimited take from the GAB is irresponsible and unsustainable. To be sustainable into the future, limits need to be put in place for all users, The GAB is essential to Australia’s future,

  4. Jayne, 03/10/2018

    I think that it is an absolute disgrace that mining companies get access to precious water that could be utilised for more environment friendly purposes. Our water systems are dying!

  5. Lee McNicholl, 03/10/2018

    Unfortunately as well as unlimited take in Queensland there is monumental and unlimited ignorance of the GAB by Queensland politicians supposedly responsible for sustainable management of this priceless resource. The latest appalling example of this is by LNP’s Opposition Natural Resources spokesman Dale Last, the Member for far away coastal Burdekin . Mr.Last has just completed a “technical tour” of Santos and Senex’s CSG activities around Roma including how they deal with their unlimited take of water from the Walloon Coal Measures aquifer of the GAB. He stated the following total rubbish on radio show Rural Queensland Today on Tuesday Oct 2. In order to fulsomely praise Santos and Senex, he fallaciously said that they take water from 600 meters below ground which was below aquifers used by farmers and was below the GAB. The BSA calls on Mr. Last to admit that farmers have historically used water from the WCM, and the Huttons and Precipice aquifers below the WCM all of which are in the GAB. Farmers also use water from the Sprinkbok and Gubbermunda and {possibly} Mooga Aquifers above the WCM which will all be impacted by the unlimited take of the CSG industry as detailed in the Qld Govt’s Office of Groundwater Assessment UWIR reports.
    Unfortunately Dale you are certainly NOT the “last” word on the GAB. Please do some serious reading and stop being led by the nose by CSG company “spin doctors”

  6. Chris O’Connor, 02/10/2018

    This is disgraceful, this govt is going the right way to destroy Australia, once the GAB is buggered, so is Australia, think about that LNP

  7. Paul Franks, 02/10/2018

    I do not think I have seen a more anti-farmer government then the current Queensland government.

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