Years of challenges and hold-ups are coming to an end as the Queensland Department of Environment and Science has given its final approval to the Adani coal mine's groundwater management plan.

"Adani submitted its most recent version of the plan, addressing the department's feedback, yesterday," the department said, "The (plan's) assessment has been rigorous and based on the best available science."

But that is disputed by hydrologists from Flinders University, RMIT, Monash and Latrobe universities who say the Adani water management plan is based on flawed science.  In particular, the scientists warn that the mine in the Galilee Basin could dry up the ancient Doongmabulla Springs Complex, which is eight kilometers away from the edge of Adani's mining lease, which would create a "plausible threat of extinction" to the springs and the plants and animals which depend on it.

"Adani has not properly examined the link between the mine's groundwater drawdown and impacts to the Doongmabulla Springs, which is a fundamental requirement of the Carmichael mine's approvals," said Flinders University hydrogeology professor Adrian Werner earlier this week.  "Six years of advice from experts that the science is flawed does not seem to have overcome critical shortcomings with the science that have persisted despite several iterations of Adani's environmental management plans," he added.

On ABC radio, Tom Crothers - former general manager for water allocation and planning in the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management -  said the Queensland government can't possibly claim to be managing water responsibly.

"We're looking at extraction of four Sydney Harbours out of underground systems.  That's a huge amount of water," Mr. Crothers said.  "The Queensland government doesn't have a clue what's happening in terms of how underground water is being managed."