17 May 2012

A draft report released by the Queensland Water Commission (QWC) today supports industry analysis of the effect of coal seam gas production on Queensland’s groundwater resources and the volume of water that will be produced.

The Draft Underground Water Impact Report on the Surat Cumulative Management Area, which provides the results of independent and peer reviewed modelling, shows previously reported figures on CSG-related water drawdown now need to be revised down.

APPEA, the peak body representing Australia’s oil and gas industry, said the report is consistent with previous water modelling data provided by industry through comprehensive environmental impact statements.

It finds that 97.5 per cent of the 21,000 bores in the Surat Basin will not see any impact arising from coal seam gas activity that could pose a risk to groundwater supply from a bore.

Rick Wilkinson, Chief Operating Officer – Eastern Region, said: “Five hundred and twenty eight bores out of 21,000 bores in the study area are forecast to see falls in water levels over and above the seasonal or climatic water level fluctuations and those caused by non-CSG activities.

“Nevertheless industry will be proactive in contacting each and every owner of a potentially affected bore to discuss make good arrangements over water supply if required.

“This could include such actions as making bores deeper and building new bores.

“The report conservatively makes no allowance for water recycling by reinjection, nor does it account for the offset effect of the industry making clean water available to reduce existing groundwater extractions.

“For example, companies are treating water for use in towns such as Roma and Chinchilla as well as providing water for irrigation and stock purposes.”

Mr Wilkinson said industry will also be heavily involved in establishing the extensive monitoring program required by the QWC, which will see some 70 additional monitoring bores drilled.

These bores are in addition to another 626 monitoring bores already established in Queensland, adding to the state’s extensive and comprehensive water data base. Download PDF

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