Managing resource industry impacts on the Great Artesian Basin

Before allowing a resource operation to start in the Great Artesian Basin (GAB), the Queensland Government conducts an in-depth assessment of its potential impact on water users and the environment.

Resource operators are then required by law to monitor bores near their operations and 'make good' any negative impact on them. They must also report on their water use, predicted and measured impacts, and 'make good' measures.

Resource industries in the GAB region

Use of basin water by the resources sector, in particular by the coal seam gas industry, has increased in recent years.

Key resource industries
Petroleum and gas (oil, conventional gas and coal seam gas) Bowen and Surat Basins, Cooper Basin, Eromanga Basin

Bauxite, kaolin

Cape York


Surat Basin

Minerals (e.g. copper, gold, zinc and lead)

Cloncurry, Cannington

Regulation of water use by the resources industry

Before mines or gas wells can be constructed, the operator must apply for a resource authority and an environmental authority. We conduct an in-depth assessment of the operation's potential impacts as part of the application process.

If a resource authority is granted, the operator has the right to take 'associated' water as part of their operations. This is water that is extracted as an unavoidable consequence of production (e.g. to depressurise a coal seam or to make a mine safe to operate). The operator does not need a separate licence or permit to extract this water.

A separate water licence is required for any other water used (e.g. for washing ore, workers' camps, construction, dust suppression). The same application process applies to the resource industry as to other industries.

Water management in the Surat CMA

Most of the coal seam gas extraction in Queensland takes place in the Surat Basin. The Queensland Government established the Surat Cumulative Management Area (Surat CMA) to help manage the impacts of the coal seam gas activities in the area. An independent body, the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment, assesses and manages the impacts of groundwater extractions by resources operations in this area.

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