Building on this assessment

Bioregional assessments can be updated, for example, incorporating new coal resource developments in the groundwater model. Existing lists such as the water-dependent asset register will remain relevant for future assessments. If new coal resource developments emerge in the future, the data, information, analytical results and models from this assessment provide a comprehensive basis for bioregion-scale re-assessment of potential impacts under an updated coal resource development pathway. It may also be applicable for other types of resource development. Guidance about how to apply the Programme’s methodology is documented in detailed scientific submethodologies, listed in the references.

Extending this bioregional assessment should focus on an improved understanding of the role of faults as conduits of groundwater flow. Drilling of groundwater observation bores in deep geological formations could also help to further reduce the uncertainty on the connection between shallow and deep geological formations. Confidence may be improved in future assessments by undertaking the following activities.

Groundwater monitoring bores

There is a lack of deep groundwater monitoring bores (greater than 100 m depth below ground surface) where groundwater levels and quality are observed in the sedimentary bedrock within the Richmond river basin. As a result, there are limited baseline data to assess hydrological processes such as aquifer connectivity or the role of faults as potential barriers or conduits to groundwater flow.

Geological data

Seismic and stratigraphic data are scarce in some areas, such as underneath the Lamington Volcanics in the Richmond river basin. Additional data would reduce the uncertainty in the geological model and identify the presence and continuity of large-scale faults, which were not accounted for in the assessment. The uncertainty from other sources (e.g. the understanding, conceptualisation and hydraulic parameterisation of the deeper geological layers) reduces confidence in local-scale changes. Additional field observations that may mitigate this problem include water level and environmental tracer measurements from future multi-level observation wells, and core analytical measurements, such as porosity and permeability of aquitards.

Climate change

In comparing results under two different futures in this assessment, factors such as climate change or land use were held constant. Future assessment iterations could look to include these and other stressors to more fully predict cumulative impacts on a landscape scale.

FIND MORE INFORMATION

See sections titled ‘Gaps’ in the following technical products:

Description of water-dependent asset register, product 1.3 (Murray et al., 2015a)

Current water accounts and water quality, product 1.5 (McJannet et al., 2015)

Conceptual modelling, product 2.3 (Raiber et al., 2016b)

Surface water numerical modelling, product 2.6.1 (Gilfedder et al., 2016)

Groundwater numerical modelling, product 2.6.2 (Cui et al., 2016b)

Last updated:
9 August 2017