Chapter 10: Water in mining and industry
By Ian Prosser, Leif Wolf, and Anna Littleboy
Mining, manufacturing, and other industries use about 20 per cent of all water consumed in Australia. They use water in cities and in some fully or over-allocated rural systems, placing them under the same pressures as other users to use water more efficiently.
Water efficiency improvements have been made by adopting new technologies, more efficient processes, incorporating reuse, and recycling and finding alternative sources of water.
Mining is a large industrial water use that is growing fast, and uses water in remote areas where it often ‘self-supplies’. It discharges large quantities of water to the environment, requiring risks to water quality to be managed.
Coal seam gas is an industry set to expand on a massive scale in Queensland and northern New South Wales. It poses several water management challenges, including potential impacts on surrounding aquifers and their water users, and the safe treatment, disposal, or use of the saline water that is extracted.
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