Initial policy development underway.

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.
Target completion date

Stage 3.
To be completed by end December 2021.

Reform area
Safeguarding water and the environment
Project action
Assessing, protecting and monitoring water resources
Lead agency
Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security

Action item update

Implementation progress

Water allocation plans 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 water allocation plans. 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.

The 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.