Explore this assessment

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 the areas that are potentially impacted and apply local-scale modelling when making regulatory, water management and planning decisions.

This assessment investigates:

  • the characteristics of the subregion, including water resources, assets, and coal and CSG resources (Component 1)
  • how future coal resource development could affect surface water and groundwater (Component 2)
  • how hydrological changes could impact on water-dependent landscapes and assets (Component 3 and Component 4).

The assessment of the Maranoa-Balonne-Condamine subregion, which is part of the Northern Inland Catchments Bioregional Assessment, comprises eight technical products (Box 1), which are summarised in this synthesis.

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 6).

Box 1 Technical products for the Maranoa‑Balonne‑Condamine 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

2.3 Conceptual modelling

2.6.2 Groundwater numerical 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 2.1-2.2 (observations analysis, statistical analysis and interpolation), product 2.5 (water balance assessment), product 2.6.1(surface water numerical modelling) and product 2.7 (receptor impact modelling) were not produced for this subregion. 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 that are commercially producing as of December 2012 and five CSG fields reported in the Annual report 2014 for the Surat underground water impact report (OGIA, 2014)
  • 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 coal mines that were expected to begin commercial production after December 2012, including expansions of baseline operations).

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 Maranoa-Balonne-Condamine subregion 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 listed in this synthesis, and include methodologies, maps, models and lists of water-dependent assets, landscape classes and potential hazards. At www.bioregionalassessments.gov.au/explorer/MBC, users can visualise where potential impacts might occur using a map-based interface. References, further reading and datasets are listed at the end of this synthesis.

Last updated:
5 January 2018