Adani: FOI documents expose double standards on river haul

Lock the Gate has obtained documents under Right to Information laws in Queensland which reveal that Adani received a special deal on access to 12.5 billion litres of river water compared to other water users, and environmental assessments of it were weak.

The documents reveal that:

  1. The licence granted to Adani by the Qld Government gives them the right to take almost as much water from the Suttor River as all other current water users combined, who currently hold nominal entitlements to a total of 15.4GL/annum
  2. Landholders objected to the grant of the water to Adani, and highlighted that streamflows in the region are already in decline. Irrigators have previously been refused licences to take less water than Adani from the Suttor River.
  3. The desktop analysis done by Adani on the take of water is based purely on historical water usage data from 1809-2004, and effectively ignores the impacts of climate change, despite the mine planning to run until 2077.
  4. The limited desktop analysis undertaken by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines identified threats to lagoons higher on the floodplains and endangered regional ecosystems from the cumulative impact of Adani and other water take.

This follows the release of polling yesterday which found 70% of Queenslanders support the cancellation of Adani’s water licences to safeguard water resources for Qld farmers.

“It’s clear there’s been a massive double standard at play between mining and agriculture, with right to information documents revealing in the past irrigators have been refused licences for less water than those granted to Adani” said Carmel Flint, spokesperson for Lock the Gate Alliance.

“Adani now has rights to almost as much Suttor River water as all other water users combined.  It is incredibly galling to see Adani get special access to river water for its dirty coal mine as Queensland grapples with a severe drought.

“The environment is also going to suffer as a result of Adani’s river water haul, with the department of natural resources identifying risks to lagoons high on the floodplain and endangered regional ecosystems.

“However, most damning is evidence that there has been no assessment of the impacts of climate change, despite the fact this water licence has been granted until 2077.

“We can expect much less water in our rivers over the next 60 years due to a changing climate and local landholders say streamflow is already declining.

“These documents underscore again just how wrong the decision was last week by the  Federal Environment Minister to approve Adani’s North Galilee Water Schemei to take Suttor river water and pipe it to their mine, without environmental assessment.

“It’s a slap in the face to rural communities and a real threat to the environment,” she said.

Right to Information documents available on request.

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