A new report looking at the coal mining industry's water use paints a dire picture, however this comes as no surprise for Breeza farmer John Hamparsum.
Commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation, the University of Adelaide's water resources academic Ian Overton used public data to examine the impact of coalmining and coal-fired power on water resources.
NSW and Queensland coal mines are using about 383 billion litres a year, roughly equivalent to the household water needs of 5.2 million people.
And these figures are likely to be an underestimate.
The report confronted problems in trying to calculate the amount of water used by the coal industry included a lack of consistent and freely available current data.
Its a double whammy for us. We are seeing this wastage of water, and to then be wasting it on something that is making our climate worse.- John Hamparsum
The research says the amount of water used by coal-fired power is 120 times the amount of water used by wind or solar.
Mr Hamparsum was "not surprised" at the report's findings at all.
In long-standing opposition to Shanhua Watermark's proposed mine for the Liverpool Plains Shire, he says it "doesn't make sense" to continue to grow an industry which should be a "thing of the past."
"I wasn't really surprised at the report," he explained.
"Not that long ago I was driving to Sydney through the Hunter Valley and passed one mine, and I counted 26 of their mine dewatering aspirators spraying water into the air."
He said doing the maths, this means just one mine is spraying 56,160,000 litres of water out per day.
And that's without factoring in the water used by spraying trucks to stop the dust, washing the coal or the water sprayed on coal stock piles to prevent fires.
The angst for farmers is that water is not being used for productive cropping.
"The concern for us in agriculture is that burning coal is adding to climate change," he explained.
"It's a double whammy for us. We are seeing this wastage of water, and to then be wasting it on something that is making our climate worse."
The recent rain means hope has sprung for the future of his farming.
In an amazing turn around, he's had the best start in 20 years coming out of the worst drought he'd ever experienced.
But with the uncertainty surrounding the mine, he still has that dark cloud of future viability hanging over his head.
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