The latest draft Underground Water Impact Report for the Surat Basin clearly demonstrates the havoc the coal seam gas industry has wreaked beneath the Darling Downs and will continue to inflict as CSG well numbers triple in coming years.
8600 CSG wells have been drilled. This number is predicted to increase to 22,000 over the next 15 to 20 years.
702 water bores relied upon by farmers will likely be drained - an increase of 22 percent since the last prediction in 2019.
There has been a groundwater pressure decline of hundreds of metres in some CSG target formations
The report forecasts that the CSG industry will soon be extracting about 120,000 megalitres per annum of groundwater.
For the first time, the report notes the CSG industry is causing subsidence on properties near gaswells.
Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland spokesperson Ellie Smith said, “The latest Underground Water Impact Report for the Surat Basin will increase the fears of farmers and all those who have watched the CSG industry’s march across the Darling Downs over the last decade.
“The sheer volume of underground water lost, and predicted to be lost, is sober reading for a region that is continuing to fight its way through one of its worst droughts in history.
“It’s also particularly alarming that - for the first time - the report has revealed the coal seam gas industry has contributed to subsidence on farms. This will have a major impact on farmers - some who invest heavily in laser leveling for irrigated cropping.
“Even centimetres of subsidence matters to these farmers. Gas companies have no plan to compensate for the mess they’ve already created, they just want to double down as they march on across the landscape.
“Sadly, these sort of impacts were expected, and successive Queensland Governments have been warned. Yet they have repeatedly sided with the gas industry over farmers and communities. The Annastacia Palaszczuk Government needs to do better.
“The power imbalance, which unfairly favours gas companies, must be fixed.
“Landholders need to be given the unequivocal right to refuse gas infrastructure both on their properties, and to refuse directional drilling which allows wells to be snaked from one property beneath another.”