UNDER PRESSURE: Gas drilling in the Surat Basin is predicted to negatively impact 101 water bores across the region, triggering make-good agreements between landholders and CSG companies.
UNDER PRESSURE: Gas drilling in the Surat Basin is predicted to negatively impact 101 water bores across the region, triggering make-good agreements between landholders and CSG companies. Contributed

CSG IMPACT: Hundreds of vital water bores to be affected

VITAL water supplies in the Maranoa could face depletion in the coming years as bores in the Surat Basin feel the effects of coal seam gas production.

The latest independent report from the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment (OGIA) has identified 101 bores within the Surat Basin - primarily in the Roma, Injune, Wandoan, Miles and Chinchilla areas - which will experience the impacts of CSG activity in the next three years.

The independent body previously assessed hundreds of bores in 2012 and 2016 also.

"Our primary function and role is to estimate CSG impact," OGIA general manager Sanjeev Pandey said.

"The report provides an up to date assessment on the impacts on groundwater from CSG development, and also provides strategies for mitigating and managing those impacts."

"This is the second update as part of a three year cycle."

From 2021 onwards, the number of impacted bores in the long-term is expected to jump to 574, as water extraction for gas production continues.

The research also shows all 101 bores affected in the short term will be subject to make-good agreements, where gas companies are obligated to make up for the damage done.

Rural advocates, AgForce, has historically ensured locals were compensated for impacted bore water supply; and while it welcomes the new report, it still has concerns for those already affected.

"AgForce has advocated for landholders to be advised by expert hydro-geologists and agronomists at the CSG companies' cost," AgForce Water Committee Chair Kim Bremner said.

"The problem, however, is that we know from the 2016 report there are still 30 outstanding make-good agreements yet to be concluded out of 123 identified bores.

"This shortfall in finalised agreements indicates further improvements are required so that the system is timely, effective and fair."

While OGIA is upping its water monitoring practices in the region this year, it also outlined steps locals can take to ensure their water supply remains.

"We have put together a list of all the water supply bores which will be impacted in the next three years, and tenure holders have responsibility for them," Mr Padney said.

"They (the companies) have to go out, talk to landholders, and do some investigations on that bore to establish whether their impact would effect water supply from that bore.

"If that investigation tells that the water supply would be affected, then tenure holders have the statutory obligation to reach into a make-good agreement with landholders or bore owners.

"It would be very smart of landholders who have been approached by the CSG industry to see if their bore has been impacted, and I do encourage them to use our Bore Search tool, which will tell them the impacts.

"It will even tell them if their bore is going to be impacted in the next 40 to 50 years, which is very timely as more projects are commencing in the Surat Basin."

Are you a landholder who has had their bore water supply affected by the CSG industry? Let us know at editorial @ westernstarnews.com.au or call us on 4578 4103.
 



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