Farmers feel left out in QLD
Conservationists want the Queensland Government to cap the gas industry's unlimited access to water from the Great Artesian Basin.
The Government is working on a new draft of The Great Artesian Basin and other Regional Aquifiers (GABORA) Water Plan, which is set to expire in September.
The Basin Sustainability Alliance – representing the interests of landholders and rural communities in south-west Queensland – is concerned that the Government has failed to regulate the resource sector's extraction of water from the GBA.
BSA chair Lee McNicholl wants the GAB environment to be operated in a sustainable way for many years ahead.
“We know you can't keep taking more out of the bath tub then you put into it, otherwise it runs dry,” he said.
The CSG industry currently enjoys unlimited use of GBA water.
The BSA says this “fails the test of intergenerational equity” and threatens everyone who depends on the resource across western Queensland.
The GABORA Water Plan draft provides for 35,055 ML of additional unallocated water for new development, about 80 per cent of which is set aside for major projects like gas, mining and power stations.
Meanwhile, 16 per cent has been proposed as a reserve for agriculture, and a 4 per cent Indigenous reserve for community projects.
“Everybody else has got an allocation, which it is supposed to adhere to but the resource sector in Queensland has unlimited take and that is the fundamental insanity of all this,” Mr McNicholl said.
“They need to have a limited amount like everybody else and then we need to have a debate about who can use the water... the farming sector, which lasts forever, or the resources sector, which takes what it wants to the detriment of the GAB to get a product in the short term.”