Using coal seam water to increase agricultural production

Water used for agricultural irrigation is treated prior to use on soils using several dedicated engineering facilities. These associated water amendment facilities (AWAFs) are an expensive and impactful process to energy organisations and landholders. 

Our researchers examined the beneficial use of coal seam water (CS-water), a by-product during the extraction of coal seam gas, as an alternative to water treatment in AWAFs. 

In collaboration with oil and gas producer Santos, our researchers developed a process that allowed amendment within the soil rather than in a dedicated AWAF. Using CS-water proved more robust and would increase agricultural production for landholders while meeting environmental targets. This process also proved to be economically beneficial for Santos as they would no longer need to build AWAFs throughout their network. 

Santos estimates that by using CS-water and reducing capital and operating expenditure, they would save approximately $500 million across the lifespan of their operations.