READ THE REPORT: BSA chairman Lee McNicholl.
READ THE REPORT: BSA chairman Lee McNicholl. Contributed

Water impact report calls for increased monitoring

WATER monitoring in the Surat Basin is set to increase by 12 per cent over the next three years, the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment has announced.

The surveillance - through 630 monitoring points - is set to help track water flows connected to 22,000 bores across the region and identify areas that could be affected by onshore gas production.

The announcement comes with the OGIA's release of its draft 2019 Underground Water Impact Report for public feedback.

Accuracy concerns

ONE group has already raised concerns about the report's overall accuracy.

The draft report notes current water extraction for onshore gas production in the Surat and southern Bowen Basin is about 60,000 ML/year "which is treated and reused for agricultural purposes''.

Non-gas related extraction is around three times higher at 164,000 ML/year.

But Western Downs grazier and Basin Sustainability Alliance chairman Lee McNicholl said that statement was "misleading”.

"The BSA contends that possibly up to 25 per cent of this (treated) water is still being evaporated in the treatment process with most of the remainder used in unsustainable irrigation projects,” Mr McNicholl said.

The 2019 draft is Queensland's third report for the Surat Basin since 2012.

The OGIA said it took into account changes in the industry's planned development, improvements in geological modelling, and new knowledge about groundwater flow.

OGIA general manager Sanjeev Pandey said the report was about "equipping industry, landholders and government with the information they need to make informed decisions about underground water management in the Surat”.

"In the next three years, 101 water bores are predicted to be impacted, for which resource authority holders will need to do a bore assessment and make good arrangements,” Mr Pandey said.

Monitoring welcomed

Mr McNicholl did welcome the increases in water monitoring "as long as the bore sites will really test the accuracy of the OGIA model on which the UWIR is based”.

Public information sessions on the draft 2019 report are scheduled in five regional centres - Toowoomba, Dalby, Chinchilla, Roma and Wandoan - this month.

The Chinchilla session will be held on Saturday, June 22, at the Club Hotel from 9-11am, while the Wandoan session will be at the Cultural Centre from 4-6pm on Monday, June24.

Mr McNicholl encouraged anyone dependent on underground water to read the report and attend the consultation sessions.

The draft Underground Water IMpact Report is available at www.business. qld.gov.au with public comment closing on July 1.

OGIA is housed within the Queensland Department of Mines and funded through an industry levy.


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