Plans to develop a greater understanding of underground water resources in NSW have been welcomed by gas industry body APPEA.
The association states that while NSW onshore gas projects use a relatively small amount of groundwater resources, monitoring of all water users, including agriculture and mining, is a significant step towards building on the body of science already accumulated about groundwater systems.
APPEA Chief Operating Officer Eastern Australia, Paul Fennelly said: “Water monitoring strategies are at the forefront of industry operations to assess the quantity of water taken and produced, detect any change in the water level of aquifers and changes in water quality within those aquifers.
“In Queensland, for example, where projects worth almost $70 billion are underway to source natural gas from coal seams, extensive monitoring by government and industry has shown the impact on groundwater resources to be negligible.
“Water is also being treated for use on farms, livestock and to supplement town water supplies.
“The framework announced by the government today will complement existing industry groundwater management plans to make sure water resources are used in a sustainable way.”
The NSW gas industry is already investing heavily in water studies and as of the end of March this year had 475 water monitoring bores in place.
In the first quarter of 2014, 13 megalitres of water was produced through gas production in NSW, the equivalent of about five Olympic-sized swimming pools.