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
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
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.”