Respected water expert Dr Richard Cresswell has reiterated that Santos’ operations near Narrabri are not a threat to water resources including the Great Artesian Basin.
Dr Cresswell, who is a former CSIRO Hydrogeologist and sits on the Federal Government’s Expert Panel for Large Coal Seam Gas Projects, told the NSW Farmers conference in Sydney that the coal seam gas Santos will target is found in formations called the Gunnedah Basin, which lies well beneath the Great Artesian Basin, and there is no hydraulic linkage between the two basins.
As reported by the ABC, Dr Cresswell said “there’s a thick layer of tight, impermeable rock…that limits the amount of water that permeates between the Gunnedah Basin and the GAB.”
“We found no evidence of leakage between the Gunnedah Basin and the overlying Pilliga sandstone which is the main aquifer of the GAB in this area.
“In fact recent studies looking at this, in particular work done by the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia have confirmed, that specifically in the area of the Narrabri Gas Project, it is actually one of the tightest areas across the whole basin in terms of whether or not leakages can happen between the basins on a natural instance.”
Dr Cresswell also reiterated that Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project will not have an impact on the major recharge areas of the GAB.
“This site is most fortuitous….it turns out to be one of the best sites in terms of low recharge to the region.”
The major recharge areas for the GAB in this area is in the Warrumbungles and where the Namoi River crosses the GAB. Both of these are well away from our project area.
While extracting the natural gas is very important for NSW future energy needs, it is equally important to protect our water resources and Santos is 100% committed to doing this.