More bores in the Surat Basin are projected to be affected by coal seam gas developments according to a Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment draft report.
The latest 2016 report has identified a further 64 bores that are likely to be immediately impacted (ie reach the trigger threshold) over the next three compared to the original Surat UWIR in 2012.
Those detailed are predicted to experience a five meter drop in water levels within the next three years according to the latest Surat Underground Water Impact Report (UWIR).
“The quality of the data is much improved over the last few years as a result of the technology employed by the gas companies,” says Dalby-based irrigator and GCQ Commissioner Ian Hayllor.
The report has implemented a new regional groundwater flow model to revise the impact of bores within the Surat Basin.
A contraction in long-term affected areas has seen the overall number of potentially impacted bores drop to 469 since the last UWIR in 2012.
However ongoing activity within the CSG industry has seen a spike in the number bores likely to be affected in the short-term future.
Sixty-four new bores have been identified within the short-term impact predictions, bringing the total to 100 bores that are likely to experience declining water levels.
“These landholders will enter into a make good agreement with the [gas] companies so that their bores are replaced with bores that tap into deeper aquifers that will not be impacted by coal seam gas extraction,” says Mr Hayllor.
Under state regulations, CSG companies are required to take remedial measures to address water inadequacy at affected properties.
“People will be notified straight away… then the negotiation process starts,” he continues.
“The gas companies do have to make good by providing another bore or negotiate a cash outcome.”
Mr Hayllor says that GCQ is calling on farmers and irrigators in the Surat Basin to provide feedback on the report and will host a number of information sessions in regional towns.
“Landholders have got the opportunity to come along and listen to a very impressive, very comprehensive presentation… so they can actually get a much better understanding of what’s happening to the groundwater and ask any questions they have.”
A public information session will be held at the Roma Cultural Centre on April 15.
Irrigators in the Surat Basin can research the potential impacts on their bore by searching their bore registration number.