Bores Impaired by Gas Development

A water bore may be considered impaired if there is a decline in water level or free gas emerging through the bore.

Bores impaired by gas development

If a bore owner is concerned their water bore may have been impaired by gas development they should contact the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME),

If a bore impairment was not predicted in an approved UWIR, DNRME may forward their investigation findings to the chief executive of the Department of Environment and Science.

Under section 418 of the Water Act 2000, if the chief executive reasonably believes a water bore can no longer supply a reasonable quantity or quality of water for its authorised use or purpose, the chief executive can require the petroleum tenure holder to carry out a bore assessment and enter into a make good agreement.

When undertaking a bore assessment, the tenure holder will need to collect information on the water bore such as:

  • details of the bore construction (drill date and drilling company, etc)
  • photographs, details, condition and rate of the bore pump
  • repair history
  • purpose and use of the bore
  • bore capacity
  • water level and pressure
  • water quality


Dispute Resolution

A dispute may arise when the resource company and the water bore owner are unable to reach agreement regarding any of the following:

  • In determining if a water bore's capacity is impaired or is likely to be impaired by a petroleum and gas operation.
  • In drafting the terms and conditions of a make good agreement.
  • If a term or condition of an executed make good agreement needs to be revised/removed/amended.
  • Whether or not a party has reasonably complied with a term or condition of a make good agreement.

Either party can refer these disputes to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy to try to resolve the dispute.

Alternatively, either party may seek a conference or an independent alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process.

Read more information on dispute resolution options

Under the legislation, the tenure holder is required to reimburse a bore owner for any accounting, legal or valuation costs that the bore owner has necessarily and reasonably incurred during the negotiation or preparation of a make good agreement. The exception to this requirement is the reimbursement for the costs of a facilitator in an ADR if requested by a bore owner.


Important considerations

Not all bores are automatically eligible for compensation.

Make good measures are determined on the bases of impaired capacity.

A bore that has not been actively used for many years, is damaged and/or unworkable is unlikely to be considered impaired.

A bore should be in working condition to be considered for compensation.

In the case where a bore is delivering water but not operating at its paper entitlement, a make good agreement can be measured against its actual capacity.

A bore assessment will determine the actual capacity of a bore and a make good agreement will be negotiated on that basis.

A make good agreement with a gas company only applies where a petroleum or gas resource exists and its existence is likely to cause impairment of a bore.


Helpful resources

  1. How to make good
  2. Groundwater monitoring for resource impacts (Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy)
  3. Dispute resolution options
  4. Fact sheet: Options for Dispute Resolution (PDF 352 KB)
  5. The Land Court of Queensland
  6. Underground water - Baseline Assessment Plans, Baseline Assessment Guidelines and Bore Assessment Guidelines (Department of Environment and Science)
  7. Find your bore – the water bore search tool
  8. Water monitoring data