Beneficial use of coal seam methane water by SANTOS
Santos seeks to maximise the environmental, community livelihood and internal business benefits from the irrigation of well adapted forest plantations and forage-based grazing systems on well suited land and soil systems. Santos is working closely with environmental protection specialists of the Queensland Government in the implementation of strict new guidelines in CSM (coal seam methane) associated water treatment and
In its initial forest development, Santos has invested in Chinchilla White Gum as a plantation tree, and will diversify into other plantation and forage species in future projects. The CSM associated water is treated, either through desalination for centre pivot irrigation of forages or with chemicals to render associated water suitable for sustainable drip irrigation of soils supporting forest plantations.
To maintain the fine balance between maximising irrigation volumes, promoting tree plantation and forage crop health and minimising environmental impacts, Sentek soil moisture and salinity sensors, along with a range of other environmental monitoring devices, have been deployed across the tree plantation and forage crop areas. Used by both irrigation managers and external advisors, the data from the sensors can show:
With the CSM industry expanding rapidly, innovative and environmentally and economically beneficial approaches to managing wastewater will make the industry both competitive and sustainable.
- how much water the trees and crops are using each day
- optimal times for further irrigations
- any changes in salt levels within the soil profile
- how irrigation amount and frequency is managed below to ensure root zone drainage within the guidelines set in the irrigation management plan
- that vertical or horizontal movement of below root zone drainage does not impact upon ephemeral streams or deep groundwater aquifers
- appropriate times for further monitoring