SunWater pursuing beneficial uses of water – SunWater has built on 80 years of water experience into a reputation as a leading water provider, overseeing the management and development of significant bulk water storages throughout Australia and$7 billion in water assets.
Future innovation is also a strong focus for the company and with significant growth occurring in the coal seam gas (CSG) industry in the Surat and Bowen Basins, SunWater is developing forwardthinking water management solutions to make use of the significant volumes of water generated during CSG production.
SunWater’s Infrastructure Development General Manager Mark Browne said as coal seam gas production yields significant volumes of associated water from the coal seams, the growth in the CSG industry in Queensland has also brought about a need for innovative water management solutions.
“As evaporation ponds can no longer be used, SunWater is developing infrastructure to allow this resource to be used in a more sustainable way, including finding beneficial uses for CSG water,” Browne said.
SunWater’s key beneficial use project involves the construction of the 20km Kenya to Chinchilla Weir Pipeline as part of the Chinchilla Beneficial Use Scheme.
The Chinchilla Beneficial Use Scheme is a Queensland first and will see CSG water extracted as part of coal seam gas production activities in the region, treated to a strict standard required by the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) and delivered to local irrigators, providing them with increased water supplies. The treated water will also be delivered, through the Kenya to Chinchilla Weir Pipeline, to the Chinchilla Weir to supplement the local town water supply.
As a result of the Chinchilla Beneficial Use Scheme, up to an additional 100 megalitres of water per day will be made available to irrigators along the buried pipeline route and within the boundaries of the Chinchilla Weir Water Supply Scheme over the next few decades, providing additional water supply in the drought-prone region.
Alongside the approvals required to construct the pipeline, SunWater will also be required to develop a Recycled Water Management Plan (RWMP) for the scheme as CSG water is recycled water under the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008.
Browne stressed that the RWMP will meet stringent approval requirements which are in place to protect public health and that the scheme will be operated in accordance with the conditions of all required approvals and permits.
“The comprehensive RWMP will be in place to ensure there are specific safeguards for the production and supply of the treated CSG water and that the quality of the water meets stringent DERM requirements before it is transported through the pipeline into the Chinchilla Weir,” Browne said.
SunWater proactively consulted with a number of stakeholders, including the required approval agencies, directly impacted landholders and potential water users, to ensure the pipeline provides the Chinchilla region with genuine community benefits, according to Browne.
“Being the first of its kind, SunWater is keen to ensure that the beneficial use scheme is a stringently managed project that Chinchilla will welcome,” he said. It is expected that the Kenya to Chinchilla pipeline will be operational by early 2012.
SunWater is also exploring further opportunities to extend their management of CSG water in the Surat and Southern Bowen Basin with investigations underway on the Woleebee Creek to Glebe Weir Pipeline project.
A critical focus for SunWater is the investigation of bulk water infrastructure solutions in the Surat Basin and the Dawson- Callide sub-region of Central Queensland.
The Nathan Dam and Pipeline project is SunWater’s major initiative in the region, looking to provide long-term, reliable water supplies to mining, power, urban and agricultural customers.
Alongside this project are a number of pipelines in the direct vicinity that aim to provide beneficial use solutions for coal seam gas production and first supply of water to those customers establishing operations prior to Nathan Dam’s completion.
The Woleebee Creek to Glebe Weir Pipeline project will be the first project delivered as part of this program of works. The project itself involves a combined pipeline approximately 120km in length that will transport treated CSG water from the QGC
Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) project for beneficial use by mining and irrigation customers along the pipeline route and in the Dawson Valley Water Supply Scheme.
If approved, the common user pipeline will be the first stage in a program of works to meet emergent demand for bulk water supply, supplying up to 36,500ML of water per annum.
Whilst the pipeline will provide water to commercial mining operations, water will also be made available to irrigation customers located within the regulated Dawson system.
Construction of the proposed pipeline is due to commence in the second half of 2012 and be completed, with first water supplied to customers, by June 2013.
Like the Kenya to Chinchilla Weir Pipeline, Woleebee Creek requires a series of approvals prior to any water being sold to customers within the boundaries of SunWater’s Dawson Valley Water Supply Scheme.
SunWater’s ability to successfully balance customer, landholder, environment and community expectations and requirements has been its advantage to date when working with beneficial use projects.
For more information visit www.sunwater.com.au