UQ launches Great Artesian Basin body of knowledge at major groundwater conference

26 November 2019

UQ has made inroads into understanding and managing large and complex groundwater systems, announcing the release of a compendium of the latest, peer-reviewed research on the Great Artesian Basin at key industry event, the Australasian Groundwater Conference, in November.

Click here to access
UQ's portal of
research papers included
as part of this project

The project addresses a major ongoing issue for Basin decision-makers. Up until now the latest research on the Basin has been difficult to locate and much is not peer reviewed. This causes a potential management issue as relying on outdated models of the hydrogeological nature and connectivity of the GAB can give rise to incomplete and in some cases over-simplistic or an incorrect understanding of the Basin.

The two-year research project bought together the latest peer reviewed science, which will facilitate better decision making when formulating regulatory controls, mitigating risks and determining industry best practice. It will also help landholders and other groundwater users in the community have a better understanding about the system.

In a move to ensure the research gets straight into the hands of the right people, UQ teamed up with key industry publication, the Hydrogeology Journal, to publish the entire series in a special issue of the journal in February 2020.

Ahead of the release, the key event for the hydrology community, the Australasian Groundwater Conference, was held in Brisbane 25-27 November 2019, providing the ideal vehicle to profile the forthcoming research directly to the technical audience. The event attracts over 600 groundwater researchers, industry professionals and policy development specialists from around the region. The UQ Centre for Natural Gas sponsored a special morning session on the opening day of the conference to profile a selection of research across the project. The Centre also sponsored the conference dinner to officially launch the forthcoming research, and took a trade stand at the event to profile the Centre’s extensive research portfolio.

The GAB research project was launched before a packed room at the Groundwater Conference dinner by the Chair of Australia’s Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee, Juanita Hamparsum. UQ Centre for Natural Gas Andrew Garnett took the opportunity to outline the importance of the research delivered and the need for ongoing research. He also recognised the active collaboration behind the project, between NERA (National Energy Resources Australia) and the UQ Centre for Natural Gas (with its industry members Arrow Energy, APLNG and Santos), who jointly funded the project.

The UQ Centre for Natural Gas was ideally placed to lead this project due to the technical expertise gained by its research team during its research program. The project delivers general information on the GAB and updates information about hydrological processes and groundwater resource management. It improves the scientific understanding of the GAB’s hydrogeology and socio-hydrogeological connections, including water use and management, structure and geology, faults and springs.

It also addresses perceived versus proved impacts from industries (e.g. gas, mining, agriculture) and climate change. Specific research programs and the knowledge gained during the intensive assessment prior to and during coal and gas extraction has greatly improved understanding in these areas.

Now the research component of the project is complete, the project will move onto phase two, which includes the creation of a series of factsheets and digital resources and partnerships to help inform the broader public about the GAB.

Ahead of the release of the hardcopy of the Hydrogeology Journal, UQ has created a portal profiling all the research, including links to the online published research papers.

Click here to access UQ's portal of research papers included as part of this project