This report concentrates on the water sources commonly used by extractive industries in the process of extracting resources lying beneath the surface–that is, underground water sources. The report examines the environmental, social and economic impacts of water extracted in this process, and the current regulatory frameworks governing water use.
The report is divided into five chapters:
- Chapter 1: Introduction (this chapter), which gives an overview of the inquiry and previous related inquiries;
- Chapter 2: Background, which provides a synopsis of Australia's underground water systems, water users and the different methods of water extraction;
- Chapter 3: Regulatory systems governing water use, which examines federal legislation and bodies responsible for oversight of water use; the National Water Initiative; differences between state and territory regulatory frameworks and requirements; and current issues and gaps in regulatory frameworks;
- Chapter 4: Impacts of extraction on Australia's water resources, which outlines the major environmental, economic and social impacts of water extraction, including beneficial impacts; and
- Chapter 5: Committee view, which also includes the Committee's recommendations.