Page 82 - AGL Sustainability Report 2011

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AGL Energy Limited 80
Introduction to water management
Australia is the driest inhabited continent. Approximately
half of AGL’s power generation assets and coal seam
gas projects are located within water stressed areas
in South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales.
As a company that operates hydro power stations and coal seam gas
projects, AGL takes very seriously the responsible management of
water resources – an issue of direct relevance to the business.
AGL uses water resources in various ways:
>> to produce steam in thermal power stations
>> to reduce emissions to air at some thermal power stations
>> to generate power at hydro power stations under approval
from relevant water authorities
>> to cool and lubricate drill bits in coal seam gas drilling operations
>> for hygiene purposes in offces, where the bulk of AGL’s 2,083
employees are located.
This water is withdrawn from a variety of sources, including from
water retailers, aquifers, collected rainwater and fresh and marine
surface waterbodies.
AGL also discharges run-off and process waste streams to sewer
and stormwater, and produces water as an unavoidable by-product
during coal seam gas exploration and production activities.
Continued growth of the Upstream Gas business is a core part of
AGL’s integrated business strategy. Presently, the Camden Gas
Project is the only AGL-operated coal seam gas project that has
progressed through the exploration phase into full scale production.
AGL’s projects at the Hunter Valley and the Galilee Basin are
currently in exploration phase, and the AGL project at Gloucester
is in development phase. These three projects can be expected to
progress to full-scale production over coming years with a resultant
anticipated increase in the volume of groundwater brought to the
surface compared to the amount reported this year.
Vision for water management:
AGL’s vision is to be a prudent and
responsible user of water that seeks to minimise the adverse impact
of its operations on local water resources.
Information about consumed water, produced water
and managed water across AGL’s sites is presented in
pages 81 to 84.
AGL recognises that stakeholders are concerned about the
management of water issues associated with coal seam gas projects.
During FY2011 AGL developed a Produced Water Management
Strategy, and over FY2012 specific Produced Water Plans will be
established for each project. During FY2012, AGL will develop
strategies for drill water, and fracture stimulation and flowback
water. A brine water strategy is also planned. Together these four
strategies form the water management framework for AGL’s coal
seam gas projects.
The long-term objective of the Produced Water Management
Strategy is to substantially increase the proportion of produced
water that is beneficially reused for environmental, industrial/
commercial, mining and/or primary production purposes. The
strategy identifies appropriate treatment and beneficial reuse
options for produced water for each of AGL’s coal seam gas projects.
AGL has established dedicated groundwater and surface water
monitoring networks across its Gloucester, Hunter and Galilee
coal seam gas exploration areas, and in the vicinity of its proposed
natural gas storage facility at Tomago. Fifty-nine dedicated
groundwater monitoring bores and nine surface monitoring locations
are now operational across these four projects (Hunter, Gloucester,
Galilee and Tomago). Additional monitoring locations are planned for
these projects and at Camden and Camden North in coming years.
Refer to
page 82
for further information.
Results to date from AGL’s dewatering program at the Hunter and
Camden Gas Projects suggest that groundwater in deep coal seams
in the coal seam gas project areas is isolated from water resources
in shallow aquifers and streams, and no water level declines or water
quality impacts have occurred due to AGL’s exploration activities.
1 As defned in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Global Water
Tool 2010.