Glossary

The register of terms and definitions used in the Bioregional Assessment Programme is available online at http://environment.data.gov.au/def/ba/glossary (note that terms and definitions are respectively listed under the 'Name' and 'Description' columns in this register). This register is a list of terms, which are the preferred descriptors for concepts. Other properties are included for each term, including licence information, source of definition and date of approval. Semantic relationships (such as hierarchical relationships) are formalised for some terms, as well as linkages to other terms in related vocabularies.

aquifer: rock or sediment in a formation, group of formations, or part of a formation that is saturated and sufficiently permeable to transmit quantities of water to wells and springs

aquitard: a saturated geological unit that is less permeable than an aquifer, and incapable of transmitting useful quantities of water. Aquitards often form a confining layer over an artesian aquifer.

asset: an entity that has value to the community and, for bioregional assessment purposes, is associated with a subregion or bioregion. Technically, an asset is a store of value and may be managed and/or used to maintain and/or produce further value. Each asset will have many values associated with it and they can be measured from a range of perspectives; for example, the values of a wetland can be measured from ecological, sociocultural and economic perspectives.

bioregion: a geographic land area within which coal seam gas (CSG) and/or coal mining developments are taking place, or could take place, and for which bioregional assessments (BAs) are conducted

bioregional assessment: a scientific analysis of the ecology, hydrology, geology and hydrogeology of a bioregion, with explicit assessment of the potential direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of coal seam gas and coal mining development on water resources. The central purpose of bioregional assessments is to analyse the impacts and risks associated with changes to water-dependent assets that arise in response to current and future pathways of coal seam gas and coal mining development.

bore: a narrow, artificially constructed hole or cavity used to intercept, collect or store water from an aquifer, or to passively observe or collect groundwater information. Also known as a borehole or piezometer.

causal pathway: for the purposes of bioregional assessments, the logical chain of events either planned or unplanned that link coal resource development and potential impacts on water and water-dependent assets

component: for the purposes of Impact Modes and Effects Analysis (IMEA), a group of activities associated with a coal seam gas (CSG) operation or coal mine. For example, components during the development life-cycle stage of a coal mine include developing the mine infrastructure, the open pit, surface facilities and underground facilities. Components are grouped into life-cycle stages.

conceptual model: abstraction or simplification of reality

connectivity: a descriptive measure of the interaction between water bodies (groundwater and/or surface water)

context: the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement or idea

dataset: a collection of data in files, databases or delivered by services that comprise a related set of information. Datasets may be spatial (e.g. a shape file or geodatabase or a Web Feature Service) or aspatial (e.g. an Access database, a list of people or a model configuration file). In the BA Repository, datasets are guaranteed to have a metadata record in the Metadata Catalogue and to have their components (files, database interface) delivered via the Data Store. In semantic web terms, a BA dataset is defined as a subclass of DCAT Dataset and PROMS Entity and is described in the BA Ontology as a scope note in term record.

derived dataset: a dataset that has been created by the Bioregional Assessment Programme

discharge: water that moves from a groundwater body to the ground surface or surface water body (e.g. a river or lake)

ecosystem: a dynamic complex of plant, animal, and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit. Note: Ecosystems include those that are human-influenced such as rural and urban ecosystems (i.e. humans are regarded as part of nature).

effect: for the purposes of Impact Modes and Effects Analysis (IMEA), change in the quantity or quality of surface water or groundwater. An effect is a specific type of an impact (any change resulting from prior events).

extraction: the removal of water for use from waterways or aquifers (including storages) by pumping or gravity channels

formation: rock layers that have common physical characteristics (lithology) deposited during a specific period of geological time

groundwater: water occurring naturally below ground level (whether in an aquifer or other low permeability material), or water occurring at a place below ground that has been pumped, diverted or released to that place for storage there. This does not include water held in underground tanks, pipes or other works.

groundwater-dependent ecosystem: ecosystems that rely on groundwater - typically the natural discharge of groundwater - for their existence and health

groundwater recharge: replenishment of groundwater by natural infiltration of surface water (precipitation, runoff), or artificially via infiltration lakes or injection

hydrogeology: the study of groundwater, including flow in aquifers, groundwater resource evaluation, and the chemistry of interactions between water and rock

impact: a change resulting from prior events, at any stage in a chain of events or a causal pathway. An impact might be equivalent to an effect (change in the quality or quantity of surface water or groundwater), or it might be a change resulting from those effects (for example, ecological changes that result from hydrological changes).

material: pertinent or relevant

permeability: the measure of the ability of a rock, soil or sediment to yield or transmit a fluid. The magnitude of permeability depends largely on the porosity and the interconnectivity of pores and spaces in the ground.

recharge: see groundwater recharge

runoff: rainfall that does not infiltrate the ground or evaporate to the atmosphere. This water flows down a slope and enters surface water systems.

saturated zone: the part of the ground in which all the voids in the rocks or soil are filled with water. The watertable is the top of the saturated zone in an unconfined aquifer.

source dataset: a pre-existing dataset sourced from outside the Bioregional Assessment Programme. This includes data sourced from the Programme partner organisations.

spring: a naturally occurring discharge of groundwater flowing out of the ground, often forming a small stream or pool of water. Typically, it represents the point at which the watertable intersects ground level.

stratigraphy: stratified (layered) rocks

subregion: an identified area wholly contained within a bioregion that enables convenient presentation of outputs of a bioregional assessment (BA)

surface water: water that flows over land and in watercourses or artificial channels and can be captured, stored and supplemented from dams and reservoirs

uncertainty: the state, even partial, of deficiency of information related to understanding or knowledge of an event, its consequence, or likelihood. For the purposes of bioregional assessments, uncertainty includes: the variation caused by natural fluctuations or heterogeneity; the incomplete knowledge or understanding of the system under consideration; and the simplification or abstraction of the system in the conceptual and numerical models

unsaturated zone: the zone in soils and rocks occurring above the watertable, where there is some air within the pore spaces

water allocation: the specific volume of water allocated to water access entitlements in a given season, defined according to rules established in the relevant water plan

water-dependent asset: an asset potentially impacted, either positively or negatively, by changes in the groundwater and/or surface water regime due to coal resource development

water system: a system that is hydrologically connected and described at the level desired for management purposes (e.g. subcatchment, catchment, basin or drainage division, or groundwater management unit, subaquifer, aquifer, groundwater basin)

watertable: the upper surface of a body of groundwater occurring in an unconfined aquifer. At the watertable, pore water pressure equals atmospheric pressure.

well: typically a narrow diameter hole drilled into the earth for the purposes of exploring, evaluating or recovering various natural resources, such as hydrocarbons (oil and gas) or water. As part of the drilling and construction process the well can be encased by materials such as steel and cement, or it may be uncased. Wells are sometimes known as a ‘wellbore’.

Last updated:
11 July 2017
Thumbnail images of the Clarence-Moreton bioregion

Product Finalisation date

6 October 2016
PRODUCT CONTENTS