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Bioregional assessments are independent scientific assessments of the potential cumulative impacts of 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 rule out areas where impacts on water resources and water-dependent assets are very unlikely (a less than 5% chance). The zone of potential hydrological change (Box 4) identifies where potential impacts cannot be ruled out. Because the models were developed for regional-scale assessments, they do not represent local-scale features, such as local aquitards. Thus results from bioregional assessments flag potentially impacted areas where governments, industry and the community may need to focus their attention and apply local-scale modelling when making regulatory, water management and planning decisions. This may result in substantially lower risks than those predicted by the regional data and models used in bioregional assessments.

The assessments investigate:

The full suite of impacts on water quality is not assessed, but the potential for changes in stream salinity is considered in light of the modelled hydrological changes, salinity hazard mapping and existing regulation and management.

The assessment of the Hunter subregion, which is part of the Northern Sydney Basin Bioregional Assessment, is reported in 12 technical products (Box 2), which are summarised in this synthesis.

Box 2 The technical products for the Hunter subregion

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

2.7 Receptor impact modelling

Component 3 and Component 4: Impact and risk analysis

3-4 Impact and risk analysis

The pages of this synthesis follow this colour guide when describing the assessment outputs. 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.


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 listed in this synthesis, and include methodologies, maps, models and lists of water-dependent assets, ecosystems and potential hazards. Users can visualise where potential impacts might occur using a map-based interface on the BA Explorer, at www.bioregionalassessments.gov.au/explorer/HUN. References, further reading and datasets are listed at the end of this synthesis.

Last updated:
18 January 2019