Adani plan to suck up to 12.5 billion litres of water from the Suttor River for its coal mine EVERY YEAR to wash coal and suppress dust. Even worse, the Federal Environment Minister might let Adani drain QLD's precious water without making Adani conduct a full environmental impact assessment.
We have a chance to protect QLD's water from Adani's water-guzzling plans, but we only have until Monday September 30 to make our voices heard.
Public submissions are open on Adani's North Gailee Water Scheme (NGWS) and the government has to consider our submissions as part of their decision-making process.
This is our opportunity to make our voices heard and demand that Adani’s impacts on precious water are properly scrutinised. Will you add your voice and make a submission on Adani's water plans?
Adani's North Galilee Water Scheme will involve:
Taking up to 12.5 billion litres of water per year during high flows;
Expanding storage dam capacity from 2 billion to 10 billion litres;
Building a 110 kilometre pipeline from the dam to the Carmichael coal mine.
What are the issues?
- The NGWS will take billions of litres of river water, and may have significant environmental impacts. Australia’s ecologically sensitive, dry inland environments, and the farmers and other water users that rely on them, are dependent on water obtained during high rainfall events to replenish. Adani’s application states the NGWS will not have a significant impact on water resources, despite enabling the company to take up to 12.5 billion litres of water per year. However, Adani has been shown to consistently underestimate the environmental impacts of its mining operations and its statements should not be accepted at face-value. The Environment Minister must require Adani to complete a full environmental impact assessment that considers the impact of its water pipeline on Queensland’s river systems and wetlands, including the Scartwater Lagoon.
- The Minister must require full assessment of NGWS impacts. Adani’s application notes the potential for the NGWS to be used by other coal mines in the Galilee Basin, but does not specify the likely volume of water take nor provide any other information. The NGWS could enable multiple mines to take many billions of litres of scarce water to wash coal - leaving behind a toxic legacy. Adani must be required to specify the full scale of the NGWS and then to complete an environmental impact assessment that considers all of the adverse impacts of the likely peak water extraction on the Suttor River. Further, the impact of surface water extraction on recharge to interconnected groundwater aquifers should also be assessed given the proximity of the project to Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems in the Belyando catchment. Adani should not be permitted to carve up the project, referring it in a piecemeal way to avoid assessment of the full scale of the project.
- The NGWS will harm threatened species. Adani’s application notes the NGWS will impact on threatened species including the Ornamental Snake, Squatter Pigeon, Black-Throated Finch, Koala and Waxy Cabbage Palm, but claims the impact is unlikely to be significant. The project could well have a significant impact on the identified species, and the Minister must require detailed population and habitat surveys to be completed by Adani and considered in a full environmental impact assessment.
- The NGWS could reduce water quality in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area. Adani’s application states that the proposed action will have no impact on the Great Barrier Reef. However, the Suttor River feeds the Burdekin River. The Burdekin sub-catchment is a Great Barrier Reef catchment. Recent research has identified that the Burdekin River is one of just four rivers that are most likely to affect water quality on the Great Barrier Reef. Given the sensitivity of the Great Barrier Reef to changes in water quality, the proposed action must be assessed via a full environmental impact assessment to identify and minimise downstream impacts.
- Adani has a history of non-compliance with environmental laws. Adani Group companies have a long track-record of non-compliance with environmental laws. The Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science has commenced prosecution of Adani for providing false and misleading statements in its annual return for the Carmichael coal mine.The Environment Minister should use her discretion to closely scrutinise this history as relevant to the proponent of the NGWS.
For more information, Adani’s referral documents can be found by searching for “2019/8508” on this website and following the links.