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Coal Seam Gas

Gloucester is awaiting the decision on whether AGL can start fracking 300m from family homes. AGL want to start fracking as soon as possible.

Gloucester Council secures funding for significant local water studies

Gloucester Shire Council has agreed to a cooperative arrangement with AGL Energy Ltd to ensure there is significant local independent scientific information about water resource issues and their long-term management in the Gloucester Basin.

The Agreement will provide funds for Council to engage relevant scientific expertise to allow it to undertake major water studies, and for the results of this effort to be made directly available to Council and the community.

It will provide resources to enable Council to take a far stronger role in protecting local water resources, and ensure that the community will be informed as water data is collected.

This work will occur in the context of the Federal Government's Bioregional Assessment of the Gloucester Basin, which is a detailed examination of surface and groundwater, and the impacts and potential impacts, of existing and proposed coal and CSG mining activities.

It essentially negates the need for Council's proposed Gloucester Basin Water Study, which was advised to the public in March this year.

That work however does not achieve the desired flood studies of the Gloucester and Avon Rivers.

Council's new Water Study Project is also in the context of developing specific studies required of AGL as a consequence of their Part 3A and Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act approvals from the State and Federal governments respectively.

The Agreement for the Gloucester Shire Council Water Study Project will see four main pieces of work completed;

A Baseline Water Survey – which is a basin wide surface and groundwater survey of private water assets within the Gloucester Basin that will involve the taking of samples and assessment of water from landowners bores, springs, dams, River/Creek pump locations and potentially rainwater tanks at no cost to the landowner.

It is proposed to see if Midcoast Water can assess these samples. The outcomes of the Baseline Study will be available to individual landowners, and Council and AGL in a consolidated form. Information may also be of value to the Bioregional Assessment process.

A Flood Study of the Avon and Gloucester Rivers and other relevant catchments within the Gloucester Basin. This work was proposed in Council's Gloucester Basin Water Study Brief and is not being addressed by either AGL or the Bioregional Assessment.

This work would be done in association with the Office of Environment and Heritage in accordance with the NSW Flood Manual.

A Produced Water Evaluation Study – The Produced Water Study will enable a focused report to be prepared about the issues relevant to the management of the anticipated produced water from the CSG operation.

This is a significant issue for AGL and the community, and AGL is required to prepare an Extracted Water Management Strategy as part of their Part 3A Approval issued by the State Government. Council will be consulted in regard to the Management Strategy, and the proposed Produced Water Study will give Council an opportunity to initially examine issues relevant to this matter.

This will include developing an understanding of the characteristics of water likely to be produced and issues about its potential management. This will facilitate Council making an informed response to the required consultation by AGL.

A Peer Review of AGL's project water studies – which is an independent assessment of the project specific water studies being undertaken by AGL in compliance with the State and Federal government consents.

Council's Mayor, John Rosenbaum said that Council was delighted with this Agreement because “it will give Council the capability to directly manage work that will give the community information that we could not afford to do ourselves.”

There is an urgency to get this work done, given that the Federal Government and AGL are underway with their studies. Council will appoint a scientist at as soon as possible. The project is expected to run over the next 18 months with early studies to be completed before the end of this year.

The Agreement also reflects the findings of the recent report by Mary O'Kane, the State's Chief Scientist and Engineer, who said that there was inadequate, independent, comprehensive information available to the public in regard to potential impacts of CSG activities.

The Mayor said that “the Gloucester community will now have information from Federal Government scientists and our own water scientist to effectively scrutinise the AGL studies, to provide a basis on which future significant decisions affecting our beautiful valley can be made.”


Water scientist under the pump

Nov. 13, 2013 - Gloucester Advocate - As the council-appointed, AGL-funded, scientist tasked with carrying out key water studies in the next 18 months, there is no doubt Kate Johnson will be feeling a little pressure.

Among the four significant tasks Kate will complete in the next year a half is a baseline water study of the Gloucester valley, a produced water study and a flood study of the Gloucester and Avon rivers.

She will also be required to peer review studies completed by AGL as it moves to begin stage one of its Gloucester Gas Project.

The findings Kate comes up with during her tenure as the valley’s water scientist are sure to be heavily scrutinised, not just by council and AGL, but also by the Gloucester public and those who both support and oppose coal seam gas extraction.

Council’s Environment and Sustainability manager Graham Gardner says Ms Johnson’s task is not without challenges.

While AGL has provided the funding for the position, council is the body that will oversee each of the studies as well as the peer review.

“The community is obviously really keen to get good information on any impacts to its precious water resources,” Mr Gardner said.

“For the past two to three years it’s what they’ve been calling out for.”


November 13, 2013 - NBN - The New South Wales Irrigators Council is calling on the state government to extend a moratorium on CSG activity in Sydney’s drinking water catchments to a state-wide ban.

The temporary ban covers so-called ‘Special Areas’ of Sydney’s drinking water catchments around Wollongong and the Blue Mountains National Park.

The moratorium has been mostly welcomed by the New South Wales Irrigators Council, however CEO Andrew Gregson says it must be extended state-wide.

“If water catchments are important enough in Sydney for a moratorium, then clearly it’s important statewide.”

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