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Bioregional assessments are independent scientific assessments of the potential cumulative impacts of coal seam gas (CSG) and coal mining developments on water resources and water-dependent assets such as rivers, wetlands and groundwater systems. These regional-scale assessments focus on 13 areas across Queensland, NSW, Victoria and SA where coal resource development is taking place, or could take place.

The assessments identify areas where water resources and water-dependent assets are very unlikely to be impacted (with a less than 5% chance), or are potentially impacted. Governments, industry and the community can then focus on areas that are potentially impacted when making regulatory, water management and planning decisions.

This assessment investigates:

  • the characteristics of the bioregion, including water resources, assets, and coal and CSG resources (Component 1)
  • how future coal resource development could affect surface water and groundwater (Component 2).

The Clarence-Moreton Bioregional Assessment comprises 10 technical products (Box 1), which are summarised in this synthesis. They include: contextual information (Component 1) and model-data analysis (Component 2). Impact and risk analysis (Component 3 and Component 4) was not conducted as hydrological changes were minimal. In addition, the West Casino Gas Project (the only new proposal), referred to as the additional coal resource development, did not proceed. However, the methods and models developed allow future assessments to be undertaken.

Throughout this synthesis, the term ‘very likely’ is used to describe where there is a greater than 95% chance of something occurring, and ‘very unlikely’ is used where there is a less than 5% chance (Box 5).

Box 1 Technical products for the Clarence-Moreton bioregion

Component 1: Contextual information

1.1 Context statement

1.2 Coal and coal seam gas resource assessment

1.3 Description of the water-dependent asset register

1.5 Current water accounts and water quality

1.6 Data register

Component 2: Model-data analysis

2.1-2.2 Observations analysis, statistical analysis and interpolation

2.3 Conceptual modelling

2.5 Water balance assessment

2.6.1 Surface water numerical modelling

2.6.2 Groundwater numerical modelling

The pages of this synthesis follow this colour guide when describing the assessment outputs. Product 2.7 (receptor impact modelling) and product 3-4 (impact and risk analysis) were not produced for this bioregion. Product 1.4 (receptor register) and product 2.4 (two-and three-dimensional visualisations) were not produced for any bioregional assessment as evolution of the methods rendered them obsolete.

Box 2 Investigating two futures

Results are reported for two potential futures:

  • baseline coal resource development (baseline): a future that includes all coal mines and CSG fields that are commercially producing as of December 2012
  • coal resource development pathway (CRDP): a future that includes all coal mines and CSG fields that are in the baseline as well as the additional coal resource development (those developments that were expected to begin commercial production after December 2012).

The difference in results between CRDP and baseline is the change that is primarily reported in a bioregional assessment. This change is due to additional coal resource development

The CRDP for the Clarence-Moreton bioregion was based on information available as of July 2015. However, coal resource developments may change over time or be withdrawn, or timing of developments may change. Factors such as climate change or land use were held constant between the two futures. Although actual climate or land use may differ, the effect on results is expected to be negligible as the assessment focused on the difference in the results between the CRDP and baseline.


www.bioregionalassessments.gov.au includes all technical products as well as information about all datasets used or created, most of which can be downloaded from data.gov.au. Additional resources are cross-referenced in this synthesis, and include methodologies, maps, models and lists of water-dependent assets, landscape classes and potential hazards. References, further reading and datasets are listed at the end of this synthesis.

Last updated:
8 January 2018