Wa­ter wars?

Central and North Burnett Times - - YOUR SAY - — Ge­orge Houen, Land­holder Ser­vices Pty Ltd

JUST when we ru­ral peo­ple thought we’d sur­vived some very anti-land­holder amend­ments by re­cent state gov­ern­ments and at least fought our way back to about where we were five years ago, Ian Mac­far­lane in his newish role as CEO of the Queens­land Re­sources Coun­cil de­clares war on the cur­rent laws and on ‘gree­nies’ who he says are run­ning a fear cam­paign against min­ing.

Mr Mac­far­lane told a Ru­ral Press Club lunch on April 20 that be­cause the CSIRO was once part of his port­fo­lio as fed­eral min­is­ter, he’s qual­i­fied to dis­miss all those concerns about de­wa­ter­ing by CSG pro­duc­ers.

He says the ground­wa­ter aquifers are tightly seg­re­gated and it’s sim­ply not true that when CSG de­wa­ter­ing re­duces wa­ter pres­sure in the tar­get coal seams, wa­ter from ad­join­ing aquifers mi­grates through in­ter­con­nect­ing path­ways to the tar­get coal seams and is pumped away.

And sim­ply not true, he says, that CSG com­pa­nies are de­wa­ter­ing aquifers re­lied on by land­hold­ers.

All of which is of­fi­cially and com­pre­hen­sively wrong.

The State Gov­ern­ment and its Of­fice of Ground­wa­ter Im­pact As­sess­ment don’t re­veal re­source in­dus­tries’ dam­age un­less they have to, but the lat­est OGIA Un­der­ground Wa­ter Im­pact Re­port di­rectly and thor­oughly de­bunks Mr Mac­far­lane’s claims.

As of 2016, 100 pri­vate bores were as­sessed as Im­me­di­ately Af­fected, such that draw down ex­ceeds or will ex­ceed the trig­ger level within three years.

As well, 469 pri­vate bores were as­sessed as Long Term Af­fected, ex­pect­ing draw down by more than the trig­ger level in the fu­ture

As of July 2015, all pe­tro­leum and gas pro­duc­ers in the Su­rat Basin took 65,000 me­gal­itres a year in de­wa­ter­ing.

And there’s no need for con­cern that both CSG pro­duc­ers and min­ers are al­lowed to take un­lim­ited vol­umes in de­wa­ter­ing, he says.

Mr Mac­far­lane didn’t men­tion that fugi­tive gas lib­er­ated by de­wa­ter­ing moves through path­ways pre­vi­ously blocked by wa­ter.

It sur­rounds and dam­ages wa­ter bores, cut­ting the yield and dam­ag­ing the pumps.

This is con­firmed in the re­port com­mis­sioned by the CSG Com­pli­ance Unit: Po­ten­tial ef­fects of free gas on bore wa­ter sup­ply from CSG devel­op­ment March 2016.

It’s avail­able from the Com­pli­ance Unit and from my com­pany’s web­site.

Should the leg­is­la­tion gov­ern the re­leases of fugi­tive politi­cians, per­haps?

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