CSG Produced Water

In Queensland, the majority of the treated CSG water is re-used for crop irrigation, livestock watering, industrial manufacturing or dust suppression

Coal seam gas (CSG) production

Coal seam gas (CSG) production requires the extraction of significant quantities of groundwater in order to lower the pressure in the coal seam sufficiently to allow the gas to flow up the gas well to the surface.

The CSG water extracted from the coal seam, also known as “produced water” or “associated water”, is often salty.

Under Queensland's Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011, CSG companies are required to identify beneficial uses for this produced water including treating the water for other uses such as irrigation, town water supplies, environmental flows and aquifer recharging.

This regulatory requirement under Queensland's Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 has helped to drive further research into the beneficial use of CSG water in Queensland.

Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment (OGIA)

The volume of water produced from CSG production varies over time and depends on the hydrogeology of the region. In 2016, OGIA reported that the rate of CSG water extraction is less than initially expected due to the nature of the coal being encountered. The rate of extraction is currently 65,000 megalitres per year. This is likely to peak at about 110,000 megalitres per year in the next few years.

Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME)

The DNRME coal seam gas water feasibility study examined the opportunities and risks of using coal seam gas (CSG) water in the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin (QMDB). Completed in 2013, the study provided valuable data about:

  • likely volumes of production and reliability of CSG water supply and demand in the QMDB and surrounding regions in the next few decades
  • potential impacts to surface and groundwater systems from CSG water production and disposal
  • potential options for using CSG water in the QMDB. Aquifer injection and supply for new or existing irrigation schemes were shown to be the most feasible, because they provide the greatest economic and environmental benefits.

Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA)

GISERA conducted research into the geochemical response to the reinjection of CSG water.

Reports and publications

  • Klohn Crippen Berger. (2011). Healthy HeadWaters Coal Seam Gas Water Feasibility Study, Injection of coal seam gas water into the Central Condamine Alluvium: Technical feasibility assessment. Final Report. Brisbane, Australia: Queensland Government (formerly) Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
  • KBR. (2012). Healthy HeadWaters Coal Seam Gas Water Feasibility Study, Proposals for using coal seam gas water in the Central Condamine Alluvium. Final Reports. Brisbane, Australia: Queensland Government (formerly) Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
  • Queensland (formerly) Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts. (2013). Healthy HeadWaters Coal Seam Gas Water Feasibility Study, Proposals for coal seam gas water use in the QMDB. Final Reports. Brisbane, Australia: Queensland Government (formerly) Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
  • Jakubowski, R., Haws, N., Ellerbroek, D., Murtagh, J., & Macfarlane, D. (2013). Development of a management tool to support the beneficial use of treated coal seam gas water for irrigation in eastern Australia. Mine Water and the Environment, 1-13. doi: 10.1007/s10230-013-0246-4
  • Hamawand, I., Yusaf, T., & Hamawand, S. (2013). Coal seam gas and associated water: a review paper. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 22, 550-560. doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2013.02.030
  • Nghiem, L. D., Ren, T., Aziz, N., Porter, I., & Regmi, G. (2011). Treatment of coal seam gas produced water for beneficial use in Australia: A review of best practices, Desalination and Water Treatment, 32, 316-323.
  • Aravinthan, V., & Harrington, D. (2014). Coal seam gas water as a medium to grow Dunalliella tertiolecta microalgae for lipid extraction. Desalination and Water Treatment, 52, 947-958. doi:10.1080/19443994.2013.827295