A plan to divert water from two Queensland rivers into a new coal mine has been slammed as a “terrible” idea.

Galilee Water – a company headed by former Queensland treasurer Keith de Lacy – wants to divert flows from the Campaspe and Cape rivers into huge water storage “cells”, holding 600,000 to 700,000 megalitres in total.

The company wants to build a 123km long pipeline to take 12,000 megalitres of water a year to the Macmines and Resolve mines before heading to the Carmichael mine.

Carmichael is Australia’s largest proposed mine - a $16.5 billion development by Indian firm Adani – but already faces legal challenges over potential descutrion of groundwater supplies.

The river diversion plan is aimed at silencing these concerns.

Galilee Water has lodged plans for federal environment department consideration, which state that the supply can also be used by graziers in the area.

Mr de Lacy says it is better than other options.

“We see this as a centralised water solution for the Galilee basin, initially the northern area, but potentially the whole of the Galilee,” De Lacy has told Central Queensland News.

“There won’t be a range of water storage initiatives, it will be centralised and it will eliminate the need for miners to take underground water.


“All we’re proposing is to meet their water needs with this solution so they can get on with developing the mine.”

“We can provide it [water] much more economically than the mines can provide it for themselves.”

Conservationists say the claim that the new Galilee Water plan will not impact upon groundwater is misleading.

“They don’t mention how much water the mines will actually need, and there will be a lot of downstream impacts not thought about here,” said Patricia Julien, research analyst at the Mackay Conservation Group has told The Guardian.

“The mines will need groundwater anyway, because the coal is in the aquifers anyway. So they will need to pump out all of that groundwater to get to the coal.

“It’s just not true that this will lessen the impact upon groundwater.

“This is a terrible concept that would have a hugely negative impact,” she said.

Coast and Country - the group standing against the Carmichael mine in land court proceedings – says that the new Galilee Water plan includes no environmental impact statement, and will not deter current legal action.