The decision means Adani’s plans to suck up to 12.5 billion litres of water each year out of the Suttor River will avoid rigorous scientific oversight.
In response to the announcement that the Morrison Government has referred Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme (NGWS) for environmental approval without applying the federal water trigger, Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) Senior Campaigner, Christian Slattery, said:
“The Morrison Government’s decision not to apply the water trigger to Adani’s water-guzzling pipeline represents a disregard for our natural environment and failure to protect our rural communities that rely on healthy rivers.
“The water trigger was established in federal environmental law specifically so large coal mining and coal seam gas projects that will affect water resources are subjected to proper scrutiny.
“This means Adani’s plans to suck up to 12.5 billion litres of water each year out of the Suttor River, in drought-ravaged central Queensland, will avoid rigorous scientific oversight.
“This decision highlights the Morrison Government’s failure to act on climate change and willingness to turn a blind eye to the enormous water consumption of the coal industry in the middle of our record-breaking drought.
“Because of this decision the Australian public will not know what impact Adani’s coal mine will have on the Suttor River, and the communities that depend on it, until it is too late.”
Adani was forced to restart the application process for its water scheme after ACF won a Federal Court appeal in June against the previous assessment of the scheme, with the Federal Government conceding it failed to properly consider public submissions.
Earlier this year ACF asked Flinders University Professor, Adrian Werner, one of the top hydrogeologists in Australia, to assess a report by consultants CDM Smith, which Adani relies on to argue that its water scheme did not warrant full federal scrutiny.
Professor Werner found the CDM Smith report: “focuses on the effect of NGWS on peak flood events, whereas the NGWS pumping will impact small-to-medium flooding events. The effect on the latter is not properly addressed… in most of the presented hydrographs, modelling results show an over-estimation of low flows (i.e., the model predicts low flows that are higher than they are in reality).”