The Centre’s water research program is focused on improving our understanding of the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) by using new data available from the coal seam gas (CSG) industry drilling and production activity. Work by UQ and partner organisations like OGIA is demonstrating how springs are connected to either local recharge or GAB aquifers, recharge is less effective to GAB aquifers than previously thought, and GAB aquifers show far more complicated aquifer flow patterns than previous understood.

Together with UQ, CSIRO has digitized thousands of hydrocarbon measurements from old mud logs from gas exploration wells that show the geological history of hydrocarbon migration through the GAB, and these hydrocarbon fingerprints help identify regions of aquifer interconnectivity or no connectivity. The Centre is using powerful computer based data analytical tools to collect and organize Queensland groundwater data from across the Surat Basin, which integrates our knowledge of how GAB aquifers are working and how they relate to CSG development.

All these activities are leading to research on how the GAB system works, how water infiltrates, how it migrates, where the aquifers’ systems are connected and where GAB water discharges. This includes new ideas on GAB management such as managed aquifer recharge, protection of springs, predicting the migration of gas and understanding water balances.

The Centre’s chair in water is Associate Professor Phil Hayes