The Productivity Commission has produced a 232 page Draft Report on the functioning of the 2004 National Water Initiative (NWI).
This is a report on the future of Australia, for water is our life support system in a drying continent.
The black coal industry in New South Wales and Queensland uses 383 billion litres of fresh water every year, the same as five million people.
Gas industry water usage is also prodigious. Shale gas mining uses 4 to 24 million litres in each hydraulic fracturing event which can be applied many times per well across hundreds to thousands of wells in an area.
This water use in the Surat Basin of Queensland may render the region unsustainable,and gas expansion in Queensland’s fragile regions is never ending.
For those who regularly review the environmental impact assessments for resource developments, which include the impact on essential environmental water, approval and regulation by government appears to be in a parallel universe operating light years from NWI regulations.
In 2012, in response to community concerns, the Australian Government established an Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (IESC) under the EPBC Act.
Advice is sought from the IESC by the Federal Environment Minister or by state governments.
In practice deep concerns expressed by the IESC are often disregarded by states where a single ’water expert” maybe used to contest them, or the IESC requirements are not adhered to, or not monitored, and there is no transparency in decision making.
Renew Economy, 14 April 2021