CSG water for agricultural land
COAL seam gas water can now be transported in underground pipelines to treatment facilities across regional Queensland to be processed and used on agricultural lands following legislation passed in parliament.
The method eventually will replace controversial containment ponds, which have led to leakages and contaminations in local communities.
In Queensland Parliament this week, the Mining (Streamling) Amendement Bill 2012 was passed with the aim of reducing red-tape surrounding mining exploration.
One of the changes included an amendment to the Petroleum and Gas Act 2004 to allow mining companies to take water extracted during coal seam gas activities off site.
The discarded water and brine now can be moved through underground pipelines to water treatment facilities for treatment.
Environment Minister Andrew Powell said the water could be used on dry agricultural land.
"The water pipelines to be constructed as part of the new arrangements will also allow for greater support of the state's agricultural sector, increasing treated water transportation between processing facilities and agricultural sites, including those that particularly are normally dry," he said.
Companies still will be subject to an environmental authority and licence to transport the water and construction of pipelines would require written permission from landowners.
Comment has been sought from the Queensland Farmers Federation.
Western Downs Regional Council mayor Ray Brown, whose electorate sits on the biggest coal seam gas hot spot in Queensland, said the law reforms were a win.
"This is a good situation. If you can concentrate the brine in a central position then you can look at an industry that can utilise the salt," he said. "We have to find a solution and this is one part. If you are looking for a good environmental and economic outcome...than these are the steps to take."