CSG industry water waste examined

COAL seam gas miners in Queensland are taking the equivalent of two-thirds of Sydney Harbour’s water each year, an inquiry has been told.

Cotton Australia said the Queensland Government must end unlimited water access for CSG companies in the state.

State policy manager Michael Murray said farmers were subject to water regulations, but the same rules did not apply to the CSG sector in Queensland.

“There is no regulation of the taking of water for the CSG industry,” Mr Murray told a Senate inquiry into the industry.

“I’m a long way from believing aquifers are not at risk.”

He said more than 350,000 gigalitres of water a year was being extracted by CSG operators in Queensland.

The NSW Government imposes a water licence on CSG companies and Mr Murray said the same must happen in Queensland.

He said the quality and quantity of groundwater was at risk.

With 40,000 gas wells planned for southern Queensland, Mr Murray said farming areas that relied on groundwater must be protected.

Earlier, the Queensland Farmers Federation told the inquiry farmers were at the mercy of big mining companies and felt helpless.

Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan said he believed CSG companies had a “cowboy attitude” about the issue.

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