Queensland Water Commission Scientist performing mound springs research, 2013
Landholders and governments have invested many millions of dollars in the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) to rehabilitate bores, renew water delivery infrastructure and improve knowledge about the Basin and the benefits that it provides. With this investment comes the opportunity to improve resource management and support the values attached to the Basin. However, our knowledge of the Basin is incomplete.
The Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee promotes the need for, and encourages, GAB related research.
The Research Prospectus identifies priority GAB research and is designed to guide the preparation of new research proposals including transitional scientific research, literature reviews, case studies, statistical analysis, focus groups and other approaches. In this way researchers, industry and resource managers can collaborate to support GAB Management. Where possible the Research prospectus attempts to align with key strategic national and state water policies.
Priority research areas have been grouped into the following five themes:
Understanding the Resource: covers topics such as water balance, surface/groundwater interaction, inter aquifer leakage assessment, springs and other groundwater dependent ecosystems, indigenous values, modeling and assessment tools and climate change.
GAB Access Infrastructure: covers topics on water bore failure, failure of distribution systems, down-hole leakage, sub-artisan water bores returning to artesian conditions.
Monitoring and Measurement: covers topics on pressure and spring monitoring, landscape change, accounting for stock and domestic use.
Higher value uses: covers topics on pastoral industry, unconventional gas industries, petroleum industry, mining industry, tourism industry, community and industrial water supplies.
Valuing Investment and Allocation: covers topics on cost-benefit and return on investments.
GAB Resource Study
In early 2014 the Committee, in partnership with the Office of Water Science (Department of the Environment), updated the Great Artesian Basin Resource Study. The Study provides an overview of the nature of the Basin, the extraction of water from the Basin and its impacts, the existing arrangements of groundwater management and significant issues for groundwater management in the Basin.
GAB Water Resource Assessment
In 2013 CSIRO released the Great Artesian Basin Water Resource Assessment, the first comprehensive study of the GAB resource since 1980. This study identifies new knowledge around the Great Artesian Basin.
Great Artesian Basin Springs Research
The Australian government Department of the Environment has commissioned research into the Great Artesian Basin Springs as part of research priorities identified by the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (IESC). The report is provided in two volumes and focuses on the history, ecology and hydrogeology of the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) Springs. Presented are the research findings relating to the ecological and hydrogeological survey of recharge, discharge, and watercourse springs that could be impacted by coal seam gas (CSG) and coal development in the Surat and Bowen Basins. GAB springs occur in clusters known as supergroups, including the Springsure, Eulo, Bourke and Bogan River. Further information can be found at www.iesc.environment.gov.au.
Allocating Water and Maintaining Springs
The National Water Commission released its report, Allocating Water and Maintaining Springs in the GAB in 2013. This research, in conjunction with the GAB Water Resource Assessment research, has substantially updated our understanding of the GAB's geology and hydrology.
GAB Researchers Forum
A Researchers Forum was held in March 2013 by the GABCC to bring together research, government and industry representatives to share their knowledge and experience and identify information gaps relating to the Basin.
GAB Futures Workshop
The GAB Futures Workshop was held in August 2013 and developed five key indicators to assist in the identification of the Basin's health. The indicators included water flow and quality, aquifer pressure, ecological values, social values and economic values.