"Scheme" is the right word. The coal scheme for Indian billionaire Adani is another instance of Australian state and federal governments coal favouritism, letting Adani get away with dodging tricky legal hurdles. Adani gets the sorts of favours from government ministers that tend to be associated with corruption.
In the larger scheme of favour exchange, Clive Palmer admits his $83 million dollar spend on advertising in Queensland and elsewhere, give enough preferences to get the LNP coalition into government. Now the Federal government LNP owes Clive a really big time favour, and Clive wants the Galilee coal projects to go ahead, because his own coal mining lease project is next in the Galilee Basin pipeline. This appears to be a clear case of rank corruption, stinky dead ten days cat on your front doorstep variety, obvious, of the highest magnitude and involving the highest levels of Australian government.
Also everyone on the deal is protected by a massive SEP of public media blindness field - It must be another Somebody Else's Problem, with no federal ICAC and apparently no charges or laws broken. Wait, there was a law broken. Why wasn't the environment water trigger legislation invoked? And so the ACF (Australian Conservation Foundation) is taking the federal government to court, based on Australia law.
Adani's water scheme, labelled the North Galilee Water Scheme (NGWS), is a pipeline allowed to take water, 12.5 billion litres yearly, from the Suttor River for its coal mine to wash coal and suppress dust. This is supposed to be during periods of high flows. To store most of that for the rest of the year, it will fill a dam capacity up to 10 billion litres. The Suttor is part of the river system that feeds into the Lake Dalyrymple, behind the Burdekin Dam. The water flows down the Suttor are highly variable and seasonal. Some years will have a season of extreme rainful with floods, other years in drought with flows down to almost nothing.
ACF is challenging our government on why did not invoke its water trigger legislation, to ask for a full assessment of this. What right has Adani to claim such a large regular intake of so much, regardless of river system supply and needs? Left unspecified are additional Galilee coal mines should they be approved, and the disposal of so much water contaminated with coal dust. What happens when the water runs out? Does the coal dust not get washed off? What is the accumulated impact of this? The Suttor River is a significant water resource, for a dry continent.
The water trigger applies when the Environment Minister decides a coal mine or coal seam gas project will have, or is likely to have, a significant impact on a water resource. - https://www.acf.org.au/adani_court_case. We could ask Josh Frydenburg, environment minister at the time. I don't think I have heard an explanation. The government pretends the water is not going to be used for coal mining.
What criteria make a water resource impact "significant"? This legal question about the scope of the water trigger was left unresolved. There are significant dependent wetlands along the course of the Suttor River. Adani has yet to complete a full environmental impact assessment that considers the impact of its water pipeline on Queensland’s river systems and wetlands, including the Scartwater Lagoon, and on groundwater aquifer systems.
SMH: Abosolute disgrace Adani pipeline won't activate water trigger - https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/absolute-disgrace-adani-pipeline-plan-won-t-activate-water-trigger-20180918-p504hh.html
#StopAdani : Call Josh Frydenburg, then environment minister, July 2019. https://www.stopadani.com/watertrigger