The socio-economic and environmental valuation of the beneficial reuse of coal seam water in Queensland.

Coal seam water (CSW) is produced as a by-product of coal seam gas (CSG) extraction. Legislation requires treating CSW to high environmental standards, which means there is now a new source of water that can be used for many purposes such as agriculture, aquaculture, domestic water supply, aquifer re-injection etc. 

The aim of this research is to evaluate the different water management options for produced water by quantitatively and qualitatively assessing the range of economic, social and environmental values that get created as this produced water gets reused. By taking into account sustainability principles and incorporating non-monetary values in decision-making, the beneficial reuse of coal seam water could be optimized to meet policy objectives related to efficiency, equity and sustainability. 


Coming from a multidisciplinary background, Sarah has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Philosophy from the University of York, followed by a Master of Science in Energy and Natural Resource Management from University College London. During her masters, she completed her research thesis (awarded with distinction) on the role collective action plays in successful groundwater management in Australia.

Afterward, she worked with the International Water Management Institute in New Delhi as an intern researcher, followed by a visiting fellowship with the Australian National University in Canberra focusing on the implementation of a Managed Aquifer Recharge scheme in the Indo-Gangetic plain. The main aim of this research was to design institutional frameworks that would ensure the long-term sustainability of the managed aquifer recharge technologies, in accordance with the local conditions, while analysing conjunctive water management policies.

Sarah's research interests include socio-economic analysis of water projects, collective action and co-management of natural resources, community engagement, institutional design, water governance and policy, conjunctive water management, managed aquifer recharge, and climate change adaptation.


The University of Queensland Scholarship for PhD Candidature


Associate Professor Glen Corder & Kathy Witt