17 January 2020 Shared from Radio 4MK
Adani Responds To Claims of 'Water Grab'
By Michelle Brewer
Community opposition is growing against Adani’s plan to extract up to 12.5 billion litres per year from the Suttor River in central Queensland according to the Mackay Conservation Group.
The group said, "Hundreds of people have written to the Federal Minister Susan Ley objecting to the federal government’s handling of Adani’s water scheme".
In December the Mackay Conservation Group requested that supporters contact the federal member for environment Susan Ley and ask her to urgently review Adani’s application to extract 12.5 billion litres of fresh water annually from the Suttor River in central Queensland. in response, over 500 community letters have been sent to the minister’s electoral office over the last few weeks.
"The federal environment minister Sussan Ley is set to make a decision on Adani’s water scheme any day. The environmental community have raised concerns about the lack of accountability and the tick and flick approach the minister’s office has applied to Adani’s application.
"Under Federal regulations coal projects that extract a significant amount of water are required to submit a rigorous environmental impact statement. This will not be applied to the Adani Water Scheme. However, under federal law, significant water extraction projects for the purposes of coal or coal seam gas mining must be thoroughly assessed under the federal ‘Water Trigger’ provisions. It remains unclear why Adani’s water scheme does not fit these criteria.
Mackay Conservation Group community organiser, Michael Kane, said “Minister Ley has decided that Adani does not have to follow the normal rules because the rules only apply to coal mines. She appears to be saying that Adani is not a coal mine ”
“We know that the Adani Water Scheme will drain 12.5 billion litres per annum from the Suttor River and then pipe it 120 kilometres to the Adani mine to wash coal, suppress dust and operate the mine.”
“The Adani mine should not be treated differently to other coal projects. The federal environment minister must explain the decision to the community. This decision seems to be yet another free-kick for Adani from the federal government.”
An Adani Mining spokesperson responded saying “Adani cannot take river water from the Suttor River when it is in drought".
“Adani can only pump water from the Suttor River when it is in flood, flowing at a rate higher than 2,592ML per day and only when farmers, have taken what they need.
“Adani’s water licence enables it to take a maximum of 12.5GL of water per year from the Suttor River under these conditions, which is equal to 1 per cent of the annual water flow available in the Suttor River catchment.
“Adani does not have access to free, unlimited water. Like other industrial users, we will pay for the water we use" the statement concluded.