The Dash for Gas
With coal-seam gas (CSG) exploration generating excitement in the business media this week, the small print once again details the well-known threat to underground water supplies from this industry. Whilst not as environmentally brutal as coal mining, a sunset industry which was recently slammed in the government’s DECC report for its “devastating” damage to rivers and water courses, CSG extraction is not without environmental impact.
CSG requires many more wells than a conventional gas field and therefore more extensive puncturing through the aquifers, on which Gunnedah and Quirindi depend for drinking water, not to mention our food and fibre production. The result is a mixing of fresh water with highly saline coal-seam water, another reason why CCAG is pressing for an independent, catchment-wide water study before damage is done by any exploratory process. CSG extraction brings much of this unusable saline water to the surface – what river will bear the brunt of this – the already struggling Mooki?
For those still wavering on the effects of mining on the Liverpool Plains, or thinking you won’t be affected, don’t just dream on, please. The gas leases cover a much wider area than Caroona and Watermark. Any impact on the water will affect all of us – please write to your MP supporting our call for an independent water study. As the DECC report states “the real economic costs of mining, particularly environmental impacts, are not adequately considered.” We need them to be – NOW.