Environmentalists attack Adani ’water grab’
THE swell of public comment on a controversial Clermont water scheme was closed yesterday, as Adani's North Galilee Water Scheme flowed to the next stage of the approvals process.
In June, the Australian Conservation Foundation won its Federal Court appeal against the assessment of the water scheme's infrastructure, resulting in Adani being forced to resubmit its application.
With public submissions finalised, the report has been sent to federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley who is expected to release her decision within 10 business days.
But the day after submissions closed, the environmentalists have launched another attack on the water system - this time pursuing reports on the mine's water usage.
ACF campaigner Christian Slattery accused the company of basing its environmental modelling on "best case scenarios" and "cherrypicking data".
Mr Slattery said Adani's "water grab" should be fully assessed by the Federal Minister under national environment laws.
The call comes as Flinders University Professor of Hydrogeology Adrian Werne r has assessed a report by consultants CDM Smith, which Adani used to argue that the North Galilee Water Scheme did not warrant full federal scrutiny.
Prof Werner said the report modelled the effect of the mine's water consumption when the Suttor River was experiencing "peak flood events".
He said the modelling did not assess the impact of pumping during small-to medium flooding events, and over-estimates water levels during low flows.
The expert analysis, commissioned by the ACF, has led the organisation to call on Ms Ley to activate a federal water trigger, which would force Adani to make a more rigorous assessment of surface and groundwater impacts.
An Adani Mining spokesperson said it had gained environmental approval for its water licence from both the state and federal government as part of the full Environmental Impact Statement for the Carmichael mine Project.
They said the 12.5 gigalitres of water was less than 1 per cent of the annual flow available in the catchment.
"The North Galilee Water Scheme project referral is subject to standard public consultation and review processes, in line with federal legislative and regulatory requirements," they said.
Adani said the water used in the North Galilee Water Scheme was required for safe mining operations.
Regardless of the water scheme's approval, Adani said the Carmichael Mine and Rail Project would be unaffected.