The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) will challenge Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price’s decision not to apply the water trigger in assessing water infrastructure for Adani’s proposed coal mine.

Adani wants to take up to 12.5 billion litres of water – the equivalent of 5000 Olympic-sized swimming pools – from the Suttor River in central Queensland. Farmers and wetlands rely on the Suttor River, which floods and dries up at different times.

Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme project would supply the mine with water to wash coal, keep dust down and reduce fire hazards.

In September, an Environment Department spokesperson said: ”stand-alone proposals which involve only associated infrastructure, such as pipelines, are not captured by the water trigger because they do not directly involve the extraction of coal.”

ACF will argue the Minister made an error of law in not applying the water trigger. ACF will argue the pipeline is essential infrastructure to service the coal mine and it would not be built at all if not for Adani’s mine. Therefore, the water trigger should be applied.

ACF Chief Executive Officer Kelly O’Shanassy said: “ACF is taking the Federal Government to court over its flawed process for assessing Adani’s plan for a water-guzzling pipeline to service its climate-wrecking coal mine.

“Water is precious on our dry continent, yet Adani wants to take billions of litres of river water every year, nearly as much as all local farmers combined. The water trigger requires the Federal Government to comprehensively assess all large coal mines and coal seam gas developments to determine if they will have a significant impact on our water.

“Our climate is breaking down and Queensland is in the grip of drought. This is not the time to be reckless with our water.”

ACF lodged documents with the Federal Court today. ACF will be represented in court by barristers Kate Gover, Angus Scott, Neil Williams SC and the Environmental Defenders Office Queensland.

Read a background brief on ACF's Suttor River legal challenge

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910 or Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email