Water scientists urge more research on CSG
A number of senior water researchers have warned of the possible effects of the coal seam gas (CSG) industry on water and salinity.
The researchers have expressed their concerns over gaps in understanding of the effects of CSG on the environment, with researchers urging more research should be conducted into the field.
The calls by the researchers come as regional Queensland is set to experience an exponential increase in the number of CSG wells from 4,000 to 30,000 in the coming 10 to 20 years.
The increase in the number of wells is set to produce an estimated 30 million tonnes of salt, equal to about 10 per cent of the world's production, over the lives of the wells in Queensland. How to deal with the increase in salinity and salt production is a crucial question being addressed by the Queensland Government, who wants companies to convert the salt into sellable products.
However, there is also concerns over the impact the CSG wells will have on underground water supplies, or aquifers, many of which are widely used by farmers and regional townships.
"We are not in a position to really put our hands on our hearts and say we know with absolute certainty what the impacts are both in local terms and cumulative terms for this industry," Craig Simmons from Flinders University told the ABC.
"There is really the potential for very serious consequences for this sort of activity if we're not careful.
Steven Raine from the University of Southern Queensland has also warned of the possible dire consequences on underground water supplies.
"It can get to the stage if it depressurises so much that in fact what's going to happen is you may end up having trouble accessing water at all," he said.
There is also growing concern over the possibility of cross contamination of aquifers as little is known about how the underground water sources interact with one another.