Our industry uses very little water in comparison to many industries. However, as part of natural gas production, water is extracted from coal seams to enable the gas to flow. The amount of water produced from each well declines as the gas starts to be released.
We are committed to responsibly managing the water produced and we develop water management solutions tailored to the areas where we operate. Options include reusing the water for irrigation, construction and dust suppression or treating and re-injecting the water back into aquifers. All of our water management options are carefully managed and carried out in line with Queensland’s stringent regulatory framework.
To monitor and manage any impacts of our operations on water resources, we have state-of-the-art surface water and groundwater monitoring systems, which we started rolling out in 1999. Since then, we have expanded our monitoring network to include further surface water monitoring locations, as well as groundwater quality and groundwater pressure monitoring bores across multiple aquifers within our Roma, Fairview and Arcadia Valley gas fields. We continue to expand our monitoring programs in accordance with development plans and regulatory requirements.
Our groundwater monitoring network also includes a number of private water supply bores, where we have agreements with landholders. The recorded bore water level is made available to landholders who can view incoming live data via a secure web application.
The Santos Water Portal shows results from publicly accessible water monitoring programs and also provides additional information about our sustainable and responsible water management and strategies.
For more information on water management, you can read the Queensland Government’s Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment on Groundwater Impacts. The report and factsheet can be found in the Water Portal Library on the Santos Water Portal.
Water extracted from coal seams can be reused in a variety of ways depending on its quality, quantity and the location in which it is produced. Reuse options typically include irrigation, re-injection in aquifers, and use for construction and dust suppression.
We have established irrigation projects at our Fairview and Springwater properties, near Injune in south-west Queensland, to reuse water extracted from coal seams.
The project involves pivot irrigation of forage crops and drip irrigation of a locally adapted native tree species, mainly Chinchilla White Gum.
The irrigation has been used successfully to establish and sustain more than 500 hectares of Rhodes grass and leucaena pastures. These pastures produce high quality forage that helps us value-add to our own cattle operations, which we run on properties we have purchased to locate major gas processing infrastructure.
The more than 1.5 million Chinchilla White Gums we have planted absorb an estimated 6,500 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere each year.
The Mount Hope Pilot Project, established in 2009, was the first agreement of its kind in Queensland, representing a partnership between a landholder and a natural gas business to reuse coal seam water for enhancing an agribusiness
Several key areas of Santos GLNG’s gasfields are located on Mount Hope Station, a family-owned agricultural business. We have worked closely with the landholder to develop a plan to use water produced from coal seams to both benefit the farm business and facilitate ongoing field development.
The project demonstrates how coal seam water can be beneficially reused to establish a significant area of long-lived (over 30 years), productive, and sustainable dryland pasture for the landholder. Two treatment processes are being used – desalination and water amendment – to irrigate 102 hectares of legume and grass pastures.
We manage dust generated from vehicle movements on unsealed roads by suppressing the dust using water extracted from coal seams. The water is also used for various construction and field development work requirements.