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This chapter considers water reform in the context of resources industries particularly coal seam gas (CSG) and mining in Queensland, Australia and Wyoming, USA. We start with federal level guidance relating to governance of water in the CSG and mining resources industries then focus on reform measures taken in Queensland comparing these with measures in Wyoming. Contrary to national water policy, Queensland’s petroleum and gas activities were designated as exceptions to the water permitting process and given a statutory right to water. As a safeguard, environmental impacts are addressed mainly through obligations to monitor, report and manage impacts including using ‘make good’ obligations to neighbouring landholders. Recent litigation illustrates how a bifurcated legislative framework, where issues of quality and quantity are separately assessed, proved a barrier to substantive consideration of the impact of development, in this case mineral extraction, on underground water. The statutory right to take water has now been extended to the mining industry. Although the regulatory intent is for adaptive management of the water resource, regulatory change in Queensland appears to be reactionary to immediate concerns. In both Queensland and Wyoming, it has proved difficult to introduce and implement a water governance model that promotes sustainability.
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