Water is essential to coal mining and coal-fired power generation.
But water is a finite resource and people understand that water used by coal mining or coal-fired power generation is not available for communities, ecosystems or food production.
The public is also increasingly concerned about water shortages due to the impacts of climate change, such as drought and reduced rainfall. These impacts are highlighting the need to ensure scarce water resources are managed sustainable.
Sustainable water management involves monitoring how much water is used by various industries, but there is a lack of transparency about how much water is being used by coal activities in Australia.
There is also a lack of understanding of the true impact of coal activities on Australia’s water resources and this has major implications on the sustainability of our climate and access to water.
This report used publicly accessible information to examine the impact of coal mining and coal-fired power generation on water in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (QLD).
The key finding is coal is a major water user in Australia and is competing for freshwater resources with other water activities, including water for people.