What are the new water protections?


New water protections introduced in December 2023 expanded the water trigger to cover shale gas fracking. 

The water trigger is a law within the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act that requires any large coal mining or coal seam gas project that may have significant impact on water resources to be referred to the regulator for assessment.

Fracking requires very large volumes of water and represents a significant risk of contamination and dewatering. Water resources at risk in the Beetaloo include:

  • Numerous groundwater sources that will be drilled through to reach the shale
  • The Cambrian Limestone Aquifer which is targeted for significant water extraction for fracking
  • Multiple surface water sources including the sacred waterway Newcastle Creek and surface water sources connected to the Cambrian Limestone Aquifer (eg the Roper River and Mataranka Hot Springs). The project would be built upstream of Lake Woods - the NT’s largest freshwater lake and a place of immense cultural significance for Traditional Owners