GAB | Understanding the public’s response towards ‘enhanced water recovery’ in the Great Artesian Basin (Australia) using the carbon capture and storage process

Title: Understanding the public’s response towards ‘enhanced water recovery’ in the Great Artesian Basin (Australia) using the carbon capture and storage process
Authors:
  • Katherine Witt
  • Michele Ferguson
  • Peta Ashworth
Abstract:

Groundwater resources in Queensland (Australia) have been depleting in many aquifers for the last 100 years and natural recharge processes are not replenishing these resources at the rate of extraction. At the same time, the need to address carbon emissions to reach global climate-change targets is becoming increasingly recognised. Plentiful deep fresh groundwater is available but is difficult, and typically uneconomical, to access due to the high costs of borehole drilling and completion. The emerging concept of ‘enhanced water recovery’ (EWR) hypothesises that carbon dioxide (CO2) injection into the deep aquifers will increase pressure, making groundwater more easily available at shallower depths across a broad region while simultaneously contributing to a reduction in CO2 emissions. One example where this has been proposed is in the Great Artesian Basin’s Surat Basin in Queensland. The findings from a series of focus groups held with different stakeholders, including agricultural producers, rural residents, and urban residents, demonstrate how different groups perceived the risks and benefits of injecting CO2 as part of the carbon capture and storage (CCS) process to raise borehole water levels. The paper discusses the trade-offs that the different stakeholder groups found more acceptable. The significance of this research is that it will be the first to publish public responses to an emerging technology that has the potential to provide multiple benefits in terms of climate-change mitigation and groundwater use.

Citation: Witt K, Ferguson M & Ashworth P (2019), Understanding the public’s response towards ‘enhanced water recovery’ in the Great Artesian Basin (Australia) using the carbon capture and storage process, Hydrogeology Journal, pp 1-11
Keywords: Artificial recharge; Climate change; Australia; Public acceptance; Risk perceptions

 

 

Published in the special issue “Advances in hydrogeologic understanding of Australia’s Great Artesian Basin”