KENYA WATER PLANT
The gas companies will take no
responsibility to guarantee quality or quantity. The liability is
transferred to the use of the water ... the farmers take the risks again, just
as they do with any liability relating to well failure or water contamination.
'A week after the big grand opening there
has been an
embarrassing development for the QGC Kenya plant. The irrigators have been
told that that QGC cannot provide the water that they have been contracted to
supply. Irrigators don't know when any water will come or how much they will get
which is really handy when planning & investing money to produce a crop.'
April 2014 - Talking about liability and
signing guarantees in relation to possible contamination issues, I heard a
little whisper regarding the Chinchilla water supply.
The Western Downs Regional Council
and Sunwater are having somewhat spirited negotiations regarding the Reverse
Osmosis RO water that finds it way into the Chinchilla weir.
Sunwater want WDRC to accept
responsibility/liability for quality and WDRC say that Sunwater are responsible
for the pipeline and deal with QGC, so should accept any liability.
The Western Downs Regional Council are
resisting demands from Sunwater to sign a water quality guarantee. WDRCs
position is that Sunwater built the pipeline from QGCs RO plant and accepted the
'treated produced' water from them that is added to Chinchilla Weir.
in it for WDRC to accept the liabilities on water quality?
WDRC are also negotiating
Sunwater's proposal for a 'sock' to be constructed
at Chinchilla weir to alleviate evaporation issues,
assisting with evaporation loss.
A sum of $880,000 mentioned, which includes
compensation to a landholder whose property is affected.
Of course we don't hear about this
Clearly, WDRC aren't 100% won on QGCs claims that this 'produced water' is safe.
If it's so good, why will no one
accept responsibility/liability? Same question we have for unconventional gas
Mr Mark Riksen - QGC Water
Solutions Manager - who could offer no adequate answer to that - apart from the
usual "Queensland government have strict guidelines."
QGC water plant is not all
October 2013 - The long-awaited QGC Kenya water treatment plant, which
officially opened on Wednesday, is not the saviour to agricultural and community
water security that the government and industry are claiming it to be, according
to the Basin Sustainability Alliance (BSA).
The plant will see water, which
is extracted from underground as part of the coal seam gas mining process,
treated and then delivered by pipeline to the Chinchilla Weir.
BSA Chair David Hamilton said it
was difficult to listen to glowing praise of the plant, when so many farmers are
under extreme stress and angst over the security of groundwater supplies now in
jeopardy because of CSG development in the area.
“This is a complex issue and we
are concerned that we are seeing the government promote the benefits to one part
of the community while turning a blind eye to the impacts elsewhere.
“There’s no doubt that’s it’s
better to do something useful with the water rather than see it evaporate in a
pond, but BSA has said all along that the extracted water must be used to
mitigate impacts before it’s put to new uses.
“This desalination plant doesn’t magically manufacture water; it is water that
has been drawn from underground as part of the gas extraction process. We don’t
deny the treatment of this water provides short term benefit to some farmers and
supplements Chinchilla’s water supply, but we can’t forget that that extracting
the water is potentially depleting an aquifer and affecting current users.
“It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
Mr Hamilton said BSA was calling
on the industry to be proactive by offering to replace groundwater bores before
they are impacted, instead of waiting for three years for government modelling
to direct the companies do so. Such a gesture would go a long way to repairing
the break-down of trust and the fracturing of local communities.”
He said it was only a matter of
time before landholders accessing their water supplies from the Walloon Coals
Seams will see the impacts from CSG.
“Farmers whose bores have been identified in the Government’s underground water
modeling as expecting to suffer long term loss, will be offered “make good”
arrangements. However, BSA is still not clear where the “make good” water will
“We are very concerned that the
only option for some will be to accept financial compensation to make up for
their loss of water. Unfortunately money doesn’t water crops or livestock.
The other big issue that BSA
fears has been brushed under the carpet is the disposal of salt.
“This industry is expected to
generate millions of tonnes of salt and at this stage, none of the CSG companies
seem to have a suitable solution for its disposal. We are very fearful that the
salt will end up in landfill, resulting in another serious environmental hazard
“We are spending one billion
dollars a year in exploration in Queensland and we would not be doing that if we
didn’t think there was more gas,” QGC managing director Derek Fisher said.
And that’s what has Basin Sustainability Alliance (BSA) chairman David Hamilton
“This is a complex issue and we are concerned that we are seeing the government
promote the benefits to one part of the community while turning a blind eye to
the impacts elsewhere,” he said.
Although BSA was all in favour of treating CSG water for use in cropping,
government and industry needed to realise they were potentially depleting an
aquifer and affecting current users.
Mr Hamilton said graziers who relied on bores into the Walloon Coal Measures
(the source of CSG) to water cattle stood to be the scheme’s biggest losers.
“They’re the ones we’re most anxious about, and no provision has been made for
them to access the Kenya-to-Chinchilla Weir pipeline when they’re the existing
users of the underground water. It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
But for properties on the Kenya pipeline including the Nine Mile aggregation,
the plant has turned a low-profit grazing operation into a profitable farming
one. Manager Ken Schmidt said Nine Mile had enjoyed a huge jump in productivity
thanks to 11 centre pivots installed on the promise of Kenya water.
Covering 400 hectares in total of lucerne, forage sorghum and winter cereals,
the existing centre pivots will be joined by another six in the near future.
“We’re turning our treated water into 10,000 tonnes (a year) of premium fodder
which goes mostly into feedlots and in time, some of our produce will go to
export,” Mr Schmidt said.
Nine Mile is Kenya’s closest neighbour and has been getting water from the plant
on and off for 12 months from the pilot facility and more recently the main
Like all Kenya water users, Mr Schmidt is grateful to QGC for making the water
available, but said knowing how much water is coming and when hasn’t always been
“SunWater are great, QGC are getting there – there have been a few teething
problems,” Mr Schmidt said.
As part of the Chinchilla beneficial use scheme, which QGC was required to
instigate by law as a condition of harvesting CSG, SunWater was engaged by QGC
to build the pipeline from the Kenya plant to the Chinchilla Weir.
SunWater administers the scheme, and has been reliant on information from QGC as
to the timing and amount of irrigation water delivery.
Mr Hamilton and GasFields commissioner Ian Hayllor, who both attended the
opening, are hopeful the Woleebee Creek and subsequent schemes give landholders
more certainty than Kenya did in the ramp-up to maximum output.
“What I want to see is a very good partnership between landholders and QGC to
use this water,” Mr Hayllor said.
“It hasn’t been managed well to date and I don’t think landholders have been
treated with the respect that they deserve,” he said.
“It’s very hard to operate a successful business if you can’t plan ahead and
these growers need to know when the water will come and how much they are going
to get,” Mr Hamilton said.
Speaking at the opening, even Catherine Tanna, chairwoman of QGC’s parent
company BG Australia, acknowledged the anxiety farmers in attendance had faced
in their wait for Kenya water.
“You have stuck with us in what have been some trying moments as you have
watched this industry evolve. We trust your faith will be rewarded,” Ms Tanna
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