Footage of methane bubbling through Queensland’s Condamine River is causing concern that a similar situation could happen in Sydney’s water catchment region.
The anti-Coal Seam Gas (CSG) movement Lock the Gate uploaded footage to YouTube on May 30 showing the Queensland river bubbling like a spa bath.
Dr Gavin Mudd, a Senior Lecturer from the Department of Civil Engineering of Monash University, told AAP that it was technically plausible for the CSG activities in the area to be causing the bubbling.
Stop CSG Sydney Water Catchment has expressed concerns that similar CSG exploration activities in the Warragamba dam region could result in similar methane leakages and the quality of Sydney’s water supply would be affected if that happened.
A spokesperson for Stop CSG Sydney Water Catchment, Nadene Seisun, said: “The Warragamba dam supplies the drinking water of four million people in Sydney.”
“If CSG development and mining happen in this area, there is a potential risk of contaminating all of Sydney’s drinking water.
“The exploration license extends through the area around Warragamba dam. That is the area we’re trying to protect from CSG mining.”
Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said all CSG activities must stop immediately.
“What we saw in Condamine River is what we expect to see in the drinking water catchments and other river systems in New South Wales if the CSG industry is allowed to develop,” he said.
“The industry has not been proven safe.”
A Parliamentary Committee released an inquiry report on the environment, economic and social impacts of CSG mining in NSW on May 1.
Mr Buckingham said the report contained forms of moratorium, greater regulation, accountability and scrutiny of the industry.
The Sydney Catchment Authority referred City News to a statement on its website when asked if methane leaks similar to those in Condamine River could occur in the Warragamba dam.
The statement specified that the CSG exploration borehole in the Warragamba region is not located on the Authority’s land and therefore no access consent from the Authority is required.
It further states that the borehole was approved by the Department of Trade Investment Regional Infrastructure and Services in June 2011, and that the Authority recommended “a Neutral or Beneficial Effect” on water quality assessment should be taken.
Stop CSG Sydney Water Catchment said Liberal MP Jai Rowell was invited to the community information night on June 5 in the Oakdale Workers Club.