Santos has installed an extensive groundwater monitoring network to provide additional confidence that the Narrabri Gas Project will not impact water resources used by farmers and the community.

Speaking in a short video released today, Santos Senior Hydrogeologist Glenn Toogood said while independent and publicly available studies have shown that Santos’ operations near Narrabri will not have an impact on a farmers’ water, the real time monitoring network in place provides additional assurances.

Santos is proposing to develop the Narrabri Gas Project which could supply up to 50% of NSW gas needs. In preparing to develop this project, Santos has used the best available science to build an understanding of any potential effect the project might have on local water.

The information is backed up with an extensive groundwater monitoring network that provides real time monitoring of groundwater across the project area.

Mr Toogood said ongoing monitoring is the tool by which Santos ensures that our activities do not impact water resources and the community, farmers and irrigators can be confident as a result.

“We test our ground water pressures every 30 minutes right across the monitoring network. We do this because we not only believe its good science, but it’s the right thing to do,” Mr Toogood said.

Santos General Manager of Energy NSW Peter Mitchley said the water that Santos will extract through the Narrabri Gas Project is not the water accessed by agricultural and community bores. It is not taken from the Great Artesian Basin; but from coal seams that lie much deeper underground.

“We know that water resources are important and we are 100% committed to protecting those water resources,” Mr Mitchley said.

“We drill through the sandstones down into the coals and that’s where we take our water from. So it’s not connected in any way to the shallower zones where farmers and agricultural users are taking water from.

“In fact, within the project area lies hundreds of metres of impermeable rock which acts as a natural barrier to the movement of water between the deep coal seams and the overlying shallow aquifers used by farmers and the community.”

This fact is reinforced by respected former CSIRO water expert Dr Richard Cresswell who says “even in drought conditions a farmer’s water would not be impacted by any of the drilling that goes through the Great Artesian Basin to get to the coal seam gas.