2.3.1 Methods


The conceptual model of causal pathways characterises the causal pathway, the chain of logic or activities ‒ either planned or unplanned ‒ that link coal resource development and potential impacts on water resources and water-dependent assets. This section details the specific application to the Clarence-Moreton bioregion of methods described in the companion submethodology M05 (as listed in Table 1) for developing a conceptual model of causal pathways (Henderson et al., 2016).

Key concepts and terminology are also explained, and the overall steps are summarised: (i) synthesis of key system components, processes and interactions for the geology, hydrogeology and surface water of the bioregion; (ii) landscape classification; (iii) definition of the coal resource development pathway; (iv) hazard analysis; (v) identification of causal pathways from the coal resource development to hydrological changes; and (vi) description of the resulting coal resource development pathway (CRDP) conceptual model of causal pathways.

Geology is a major landscape-forming driver, and four major categories of geology were identified for the purpose of landscape classification: fractured rock, consolidated sedimentary rock, unconsolidated sediments – alluvium and unconsolidated sediments – estuarine and coastal. The three-dimensional geological model for the bioregion enabled the development of detailed geological cross-sections of the Richmond river basin, which extend from the shallow alluvial aquifers to the deep coal-bearing layers. The causal pathways were finalised following discussion with stakeholders at the ‘Conceptual modelling of causal pathways’ workshop held in June 2015.

Last updated:
5 March 2019
Thumbnail images of the Clarence-Moreton bioregion

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