Action item 7.8b
Government approval of policy/process development.
That the following measures be mandated to ensure that any onshore shale gas development does not cause unacceptable local drawdown of aquifers:
- that relevant WAPs include provisions that adequately control both the rate and volume of water extraction by the gas companies;
- that gas companies be required, at their expense, to monitor drawdown in local water supply bores; and
- that gas companies be required to immediately ‘make good’ and rectify any problems if the drawdown is found to be excessive.
To be completed by end December 2022.
Action item update
Development of Water Allocation Plans (WAPs) has commenced for water resources that may be impacted by taking of groundwater over the Beetaloo sub-basin. Specifically the Georgina Basin and the Wiso Basin.
The WAPs will identify the estimated sustainable yield and total volume of water available for extraction for petroleum and ancillary activities as well as for other beneficial use categories under the Water Act 1992. Water extraction licences will be issued and traded in accordance with guidelines established in WAPs. Water extraction licence conditions can be used to control the rate and volume of extractions and provide for monitoring requirements to be met by licence holders.
WAPS for the Gulf region and Flora River area are also being scoped to support the regulation of industry and satisfy the recommendation.
The NT Government will consider the most appropriate legislative mechanism to implement the remainder of this recommendation, including ensuring an enforceable mechanism for “making good” any excessive impacts.