Findings from bioregional assessments can help governments, industry and the community provide better-informed regulatory, water management and planning decisions.
Assessment results flag where future efforts of regulators and proponents can be directed, and where further attention is not necessary. This is achieved through the ‘rule-out’ process, which focuses on areas where hydrological changes may occur. This process identified areas, and consequently water resources and water-dependent assets, that are very unlikely to experience hydrological change or impact due to additional coal resource development.
This assessment predicts the likelihood of exceeding levels of potential hydrological change at a regional scale. It also provides important context to identify potential issues that may need to be addressed in local-scale environmental impact assessments of new coal resource developments. It should help project proponents to meet legislative requirements to identify the environmental values that may be affected by coal resource development, and to adopt strategies to avoid, mitigate or manage potential impacts. These assessments do not investigate the social, economic or human health impacts of coal resource development, nor do they consider risks of fugitive gases and impacts unrelated to water.
Bioregional assessments are not a substitute for careful assessment of proposed coal mine or CSG extraction projects under Australian or state environmental law. Such assessments may use finer-scale groundwater and surface water models and consider impacts on matters other than water resources. However, the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (a federal government statutory authority established in 2012 under the EPBC Act) can use these assessment results to formulate their advice. Local data can be used to constrain results of the regional-scale modelling to better inform the management response.
The full suite of information is provided at www.bioregionalassessments.gov.au, including all technical products as well as information about all used or created, most of which can be downloaded from data.gov.au. These underpinning datasets, including shapefiles of geographic data and modelling results, can assist decision makers at all levels to review the work undertaken to date, and to extend or update the assessment if new models or data become available.
The Programme’s rigorous commitment to data access is consistent with the Australian Government’s principles of providing publicly accessible, transparent and responsibly managed public sector information.
Product Finalisation date
- Executive summary
- Explore this assessment
- About the subregion
- How could coal resource development result in hydrological changes?
- What are the potential hydrological changes?
- What are the potential impacts of additional coal resource development on ecosystems?
- What are the potential impacts of additional coal resource development on water-dependent assets?
- How to use this assessment
- Building on this assessment
- References and further reading
- Contributors to the Technical Programme