The Australian Government protects water resources from the potential impacts of coal and coal seam gas development through the 'water trigger' provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Projects referred under 'water trigger' provisions of the the EPBC Act can be found on the EPBC Referrals List.
Under the 'water trigger' provisions of the EPBC Act, the Australian Government must seek and consider the scientific advice of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (IESC), for all coal seam gas and large coal mining development proposals that are likely to have a significant impact on a water resource.
Under state protocols, declared states (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia) can equally seek the advice of the IESC at certain points in their assessment and approval process.
The IESC considers the potential impacts of the proposed coal seam gas and large coal mining developments to water resources. This includes groundwater, surface water, water quantity and quality, ecosystems and ecological processes that affect the water resource and water-dependent assets.
More information can be found on the IESC website: