Assessment results flag where future efforts of regulators and proponents can be directed, and where further attention is not necessary. This is emphasised through the ‘rule-out’ process, which focuses on areas where hydrological changes are predicted. In doing so it has identified areas, and consequently water resources and , that are to experience hydrological change or due to .
This assessment predicts the of exceeding levels of potential hydrological change at a regional level. It also provides important 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 describe the environmental values that may be affected by the exercise of underground water rights, and to adopt strategies to avoid, mitigate or manage the predicted impacts. These assessments do not investigate the broader social, economic or human health impacts of coal resource development, nor do they consider of fugitive gases and non-water-related impacts.
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 and 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 Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) can use these assessment results to formulate their advice.
Bioregional assessments have been developed with the ability to be updated, for example, to incorporate new coal resource developments in the groundwater model. Existing such as the remain relevant for future assessments. If new coal resource developments emerge in the future, the data, information, analytical results and models from this assessment would provide a comprehensive basis for bioregion-scale re-assessment of potential impacts under an updated . It may also be applicable for other types of resource development.
The full suite of information, including information for individual , is provided at . Access to underpinning datasets, including shapefiles of geographic data and modelling results, can assist decision makers at all levels to review the work undertaken to date; to explore the results using different thresholds (Box 9); and to extend or update the assessment if new models or data become available. Additional guidance about how to apply the Programme’s methodology is also documented in detailed scientific submethodologies (as listed in ‘References and further reading’).
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.
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- 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 the landscape?
- 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