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Groundwater supplies "a very serious situation": expert
08/08/2012 - Australia should heed warnings about the future of the world's groundwater supplies, and is obliged to lead the region in protecting the resource, a leading expert says. Patrick Caruana
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The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training's Professor Craig Simmons said UNESCO had recently warned the world's groundwater reserves were rapidly being depleted.
"There is undoubtedly a very serious situation emerging with respect to groundwater in certain parts of the world," Professor Simmons said.
"In many situations groundwater is a finite resource and is not renewed at anything like the rates it is being extracted."
Groundwater is crucial for agriculture, energy production and even underpinned the drinking water supply of major cities, Prof Simmons said.
The UNESCO report identified Australia's Great Artesian Basin as a groundwater source which had suffered significant decline.
Prof Simmons said Australia needed to play a leading role in researching and managing the issue.
"Thanks to significant research investment, these are matters that Australia is rapidly coming to grips with," he said.
"We now have real knowledge and expertise that can be taken advantage of."
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Maria | 8/08/2012 13:53 1
The Great Artesian Basin faces a very uncertain future if the massive coal mine proposals open up in the Galilee Basin. The Adani Carmichael mine alone is estimated to be 50km long and work for over 100 yrs. We know that mine rehabilitation is a joke and acid mine drainage is a real problem for decades even centuries. Torrential rains from annual monsoons fill up these gaping voids and mine owners are allowed to pump the toxic water into the local rivers and streams all supplying the groundwater systems of the Great Artesian Basin. With coal seam gas wells there is also a huge amount of water extracted and then we have the problem of disposing of the toxic "produced" water. All ends up in the GAB water resource!
Rob | 8/08/2012 16:42 2
Our groundwater is too precious to allow it to be utilised for anything other than agriculture and drinking. To allow it to be used for extracting a product that is shipped directly overseas with no value-adding is criminal.
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