The coal industry in NSW and Queensland uses as much water as all Qld households, a report says. Image by Nikki Short/AAP PHOTOS

Energy

Report shows high water use of coal power

2020-05-02 14:26:21

What uses more water – the NSW and Queensland coal industries or every household in the Sunshine State?

They’re on par, according to a new report commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation. 

The report, put together by associate professor in water resources at the University of Adelaide Ian Overton, found the coal industry in NSW and Queensland consumes 383 billion litres of water every year.

It’s also equivalent to water used by the entire population of greater Sydney.

The report says coal mining and coal-fired power consumes about 4.3 per cent of all water used in NSW and Queensland.

ACF says the coal industry doesn’t pay a fair amount for its water use, pointing to the unlimited water mining licence granted to Adani.

ACF chief Kelly O’Shanassy says farmers are still dealing with drought, as the coal industry uses massive amounts of water. 

“Not only do coal mines and coal-fired power stations consume vast quantities of water that could otherwise support people, wetlands and wildlife, the coal industry also contaminates water, leaving toxic ash dams and leeching poisonous water into creeks and rivers,” she said.

“When you add coal-fired electricity’s water consumption and contamination to its climate pollution, it’s clear Australia should rapidly replace coal-fired power with clean energy.”

The report found coal power uses 120 times as much water as wind or solar to produce the same amount of electricity.