Quantifying Recharge Pathways and Aquifer Connectivity in Groundwater Supported Irrigation Districts

Major projects

Evaluating the Extent of Hydraulic Connectivity between the Great Artesian Basin and the Lower Namoi Alluvium

To have sustainable access to groundwater we need to know where and how much groundwater is recharging the lower Namoi Aquifers. By mapping groundwater recharge pathways in the lower Namoi we will gain insights into where, when, and how much groundwater can be used to support agriculture.

Groundwater is also critical for ecosystem health, and there are now many regions throughout the Namoi catchment where many trees are in poor health. The groundwater data being collected in this study will assist with groundwater-dependent ecosystems investigations currently being undertaken by Dr Rhiannon Smith at UNE.

Both the groundwater chemistry and ground level greenhouse gas surveys will help with assessing the impacts associated the expansion of coal seam gas throughout the region.

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Associated paper

Iverach CP; Cendón DI;Meredith KT; Wilcken K; Hankin SI; Andersen MS; Kelly BF J, 2017, 'A multi-tracer approach to constraining artesian groundwater discharge into an alluvial aquifer', Hydrological and Earth System Science, https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-327 (under review)

Evaluating the Extent of Hydraulic Connectivity between the Condamine Alluvium, the Great Artesian Basin and the Walloon Coal Measures

Each day tens to hundreds of mega-litres of coproduced groundwater will be extracted from the WCM associated with the production of gas. Over the next few decades this will lower the groundwater head (the water level measured in monitoring boreholes) firstly in the WCM, then in the adjacent formations of the GAB and then, depending on the extent of hydraulic connectivity, possibly in the CA.

To correctly model the potential impact of CSG developments on groundwater levels in the CA we need a good conceptual geological model of the region. In particular, we need to know where and to what extent there is hydraulic connectivity between the WCM and the CA. Groundwater geochemistry provides insights on the extent of this hydraulic connectivity.

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Associated papers

Iverach CP;Beckmann S;Cendón DI;Manefield M;Kelly BF J, 2017, 'Biogeochemical constraints on the origin of methane in an alluvial aquifer: Evidence for the upward migration of methane from underlying coal measures', Biogeosciences, vol. 14, pp. 215 - 228, http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/bg-14-215-2017

Zazzeri G;Lowry D;Fisher RE;France JL;Lanoisellé M;Kelly BF J;Necki JM;Iverach CP;Ginty E;Zimnoch M;Jasek A;Nisbet EG, 2016, 'Carbon isotopic signature of coal-derived methane emissions to the atmosphere: From coalification to alteration', Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 16, pp. 13669 - 13680, http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-13669-2016

Iverach CP;Cendón DI;Hankin SI;Lowry D;Fisher RE;France JL;Nisbet EG;Baker A;Kelly BF J, 2015, 'Assessing Connectivity Between an Overlying Aquifer and a Coal Seam Gas Resource Using Methane Isotopes, Dissolved Organic Carbon and Tritium', Scientific Reports, vol. 5, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep15996

Hocking M;Kelly BF J, 2016, 'Groundwater recharge and time lag measurement through Vertosols using impulse response functions', Journal of Hydrology, vol. 535, pp. 22 - 35, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2016.01.042


For further details on these projects please contact either Bryce Kelly (bryce.kelly@unsw.edu.au) or Dioni Cendon (dce@ansto.gov.au).