Lock the Gate Alliance is calling on the Queensland Government to immediately halt and review the coal seam gas industry following the release of the 2019 draft Surat Basin Underground Water Impact Report, which identifies new and serious threats created by the rampant expansion of CSG across the fertile Western Downs.
In a submission to the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment, LTGA identifies multiple areas of concern contained within the draft report, including the fact a greater number of water bores will be drained and a greater number of springs will be depleted due to CSG activity than have previously been identified.
The report also identifies serious new threats, including potential for moderate to high impacts from subsidence.
Lock the Gate Alliance national coordinator Carmel Flint said, “Despite this very serious escalation in the threats from CSG to our precious and irreplaceable water resources, the report does not provide any recommendations as to how to respond urgently to ensure they do not continue to worsen over time.
“If the Queensland Government fails to act in response to this dire warning, Queenslanders, and particularly farmers who are battling this invasive and polluting industry, will suffer.
“In particular, we are extremely concerned the UWIR has identified a 10% increase in the number of water bores that will be affected by gas development since the 2016 UWIR, to a total of 574 bores.
“However, there is literally no response to this drastic increase in impacts within the UWIR, nor has there been any other response from the Queensland Government outside the UWIR process.
“It is also very concerning to see that there is a very substantial disparity between the number of bores that have already been affected and the number of make good agreements – 127 bores have been affected, yet only 93 make good agreements are in place for them.”
“The report also does not even reference the drought and its impact on water supplies throughout the region. Agricultural water users are now facing restrictions on groundwater use, but CSG groundwater use is effectively a permanent use, that cannot be increased or decreased in response to conditions, which means more pressure on farmers.
“Lock the Gate Alliance calls on the Queensland Government to urgently halt the CSG industry and conduct a review in line with the concerns listed in our submission.”