NCGRT Teaching and Research Facility established on the UNSW farm at Wellington, NSW

Posted 8 June 2010

Structure being set down at the new NCGRT Teaching & Research Facility at Wellington, NSW.

The UNSW has commenced the establishment of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) teaching and research facility on the Macquarie River at Wellington in NSW.

The UNSW-owned 400ha farm at Wellington, about 250km north-west of Sydney, has a 2.5km frontage to the Macquarie River. In addition to providing field teaching resources for the NCGRT, the facility will also provide a base for research programs being undertaken.

A 9-section demountable building was moved from the UNSW main campus at Kensington to the Wellington site to accommodate the teaching and research facilities. The move took place over a 2-day period from 13th to 14th of May, and succeeded with limited damage to the building, which is now ready for final fitting-out at the old dairy site.

This structure will house a 72m2 classroom, break-out rooms and research accommodation equipped with internet capability via satellite, 3-phase power, air-conditioning, toilet, shower, kitchen facilities and will be supplied by a combination of rain water and mains water.

Mr Peter Graham has been appointed full-time Site Manager and will take up duties at the beginning of August. He and his family will be based at the farm homestead at the entrance to the site.

The NSW Office of Water has drilled investigation boreholes into the deep Tertiary Alluvium at the site, and will also complete a pumping test bore in July that can be used to demonstrate groundwater hydraulics principles.

Funds from the NCGRT will also be used to support the site and to develop a fractured-rock research facility. Additional drilling will take place later in the year as part of investigations of the surface/groundwater connectivity provided by fractures in the metamorphic rocks beneath the site.

The NSW Science Leveraging Fund has contributed the costs of this drilling, part of the costs of moving and establishing the building and part of the Site Manager's salary.

Drilling will also be conducted at the adjacent Wellington Caves site to investigate fracture-flow and groundwater dynamics in the Devonian limestone. There will be a significant research program targeting recovery of palaeoclimate data from the speleothems in the limestone.

Funds from the Federal Government Groundwater Environmental Infrastructure Fund (EIF) are being used to provide groundwater monitoring and surface climate monitoring facilities that will establish Wellington Farm as a long-term environmental monitoring site dedicated to the investigation of groundwater resource evaluation under changing climate conditions.

The NCGRT Teaching and Research Facility will be officially opened on 8th of November 2010. Details of the opening are yet to be finalised and will be posted when available.

The first field training course will be run at the site in the opening week. The course will provide detailed instruction on the use of geophysical, hydrochemical, groundwater hydraulics and surface water techniques where participants obtain get hands-on experience using equipment supplied under the EIF scheme. Click here fore more information.

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