Skip to content

To report a serious incident to DPC, as required by Section 85(2) of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000, licensees should phone the serious incident report no: (08) 8463 6666.

Efficient and fit-for-purpose water use in the Cooper-Eromanga basins.

Download the Working Group 3 Membership List (PDF 376.4 KB)

The purpose of Working Group 3 is to form stronger links between operators and the water industry, thereby providing a platform for open discussion between operators, industry and government. Success has been seen with the development of the water balance model resulting in a closer working relationship between operators.

Working Group 3 is focused on, and contributes to, the implementation of the following recommendations from the Roadmap for Unconventional Gas:

  • 3: Use of co-produced water for drilling and fracture stimulation fluids
  • 16: Set a program for basin-wide, base-line, water resource characterisation
  • 23: Resolve leading practices for sustainable water use with minimum red tape
  • 30: Multiple Joint Ventures cooperate in basin-wide monitoring for environmental impacts
  • 48: Multiple Joint Ventures tender for equipment/services to reap economies of scale
  • 58: Fund targeted environmental research in ways that build public trust in outputs
  • 78: Take account of lessons learnt nationally and internationally
  • 101: Planning forums and cost sharing frameworks suited to most enterprises in the Cooper Basin
  • 106: Incentives for industry cooperation to reap economies of scale for gas development, production, processing and transport, without reducing supply-side competition
  • 114: Clarify process to pay for and lead to more environmental research relevant to unconventional gas operations, and in particular, well operations
  • 116: Convene a workshop that could band together enterprises into clusters worth IPO to start-up and get competitive.

Report card detailing the progress towards implementing the Roadmap for Unconventional Gas recommendations to date (PDF 5.71MB)

Recent meetings

28 October 2015 - Water Business Pitching Opportunity

On 28 October 2015, approximately 70 people gathered in the Ian McLachlan Room at Adelaide Oval to hear the latest water innovations from businesses in the water sector. The collaborative event was coordinated by the Water Industry Alliance (WIA) in conjunction with the Roundtable for Oil and Gas Projects and the Industry Capability Network (ICN).

More information is available below under Working Group 6 - Oil and Gas Supplier Forum.

Current projectsRB201400024-1

Industry and government members of the Water Roundtable first met in November 2013, where it was proposed to produce a basin wide water model and collate water balance information from all operators. Pursuant to recommendations 3, 23, 30, 48, 58, and 114, the Department of State Development (DSD) commissioned Golder Associates to produce the model of the Cooper-Eromanga basin with current and future predicted water supply, demand, type and quality. Subsequent planning meetings were held in February 2014 and April 2014, with the study commencing in July 2014, and the report completed in January 2015.

Download the Cooper-Eromanga water balance model and accompanying report. (PDF 1.55MB)

The water balance model provides a framework to ascertain tangible opportunities for the water industry, including identifying re-use opportunities within water quality constraints, and collaboration to avoid duplication of infrastructure. The results of the model will be utilised to deliver improved, innovative water management practices, and extend involvement in WG3 to the wider water industry.

Preliminary results of the model were presented at the recent Roundtable event in October 2014. The final results demonstrate that there is an overall surplus of water in the industry. The report provides insight into demands and sets a foundation for future improvements in data quality and collaboration initiatives. Currently demand for water is approximately 6% of total extraction, with SA’s component of 2014 extractions at approximately 65% of the 60ML/day industry allocation. Extractions are expected to grow by 28% by 2016, with demand to reach 15%. The greatest extraction quantities are from Produced Formation Water (Oil), with the greatest demand for drilling and completions both now and in the future, projected to grow by about 4 times. The area of largest change in excess is in north-west SA.

In relation to water use and fracture stimulation, there is no evidence or realistic expectation of fracture stimulation resulting in contamination of fresh water supplies. More information on fracture stimulation (PDF 2.24MB).

In addition, under recommendation 16, WG3 is currently contributing to a project called South East Water Quality Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Program. The lead agency is the EPA, with input from Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR), SA Water and DSD. The final draft report from Jacobs was submitted on 21 October 2014. Baseline studies have been gathered, and recommendations provided for a future monitoring network to gather water quality data including natural background gas in prospective hydrocarbon exploration areas. A key aspect of the proposed MER program is creating links between the SA EPA groundwater quality monitoring, DEWNR groundwater status reporting and groundwater MER works undertaken by the SE NRM Board.

Proposed projects

Pursuant to recommendations 23, 58, 78, and 114, WG3, through DSD has also commissioned the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) to review and synthesise information on water impacts of unconventional gas developments, and to describe methods that can be used to assess risks of current and future developments. The project will draw together information from scientific studies and reports worldwide; describe how each risk factor can increase risk, and use scientific data and models to quantify the risks; and present examples where risks have been realised. The project commenced in January 2015, and is to be completed by December 2015. The Lead Investigator is Professor Craig Simmons from the NCGRT.

Future projects

Further, DSD is keen to engage with Geological Survey of Victoria and relevant state and federal agencies and industry to cost share the consolidation of baseline studies that will provide regional potentiometric surfaces (using latest knowledge of fault polygons) and salinity maps for at least the Tertiary Unconfined and Confined Aquifers.

A longer term aspiration under recommendation 16 is to facilitate the full characterisation of all aquifers from surface to basement so that government can fully respond to the potential impact of any activities on the State's water resources and realise potential new water supplies.