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Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining Water Knowledge Program

The Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining Water Knowledge Program aims to increase the available science for assessing water-related impacts of future coal seam gas and coal mining proposals, and increase decision-making transparency.

Program Partners

The program is being delivered by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) in partnership with the Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern & Yorke, SA Arid Lands, SA Murray-Darling Basin and South East NRM Boards, the Department of Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy (DMITRE), the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), the Northern Territory and Queensland Governments, the Goyder Institute for Water Research, Lake Eyre Basin Rivers Assessment (LEBRA), Desert Channels Group (Qld), Southern Gulf Catchments (Qld) and South West NRM (Qld).

Independent Expert Scientific Committee Referral Protocol

The South Australian Protocol for the Referral of Project Applications to the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Developments was published and implemented to provide for transparent decision-making based on the best available science.

When a proposed development reaches the environmental assessment stage, the South Australian Government uses the Protocol to determine if the proposal is likely to have a significant impact on water resources. If impacts are likely, the Independent Expert Scientific Committee (IESC) will provide expert scientific advice to inform the State’s decision on whether the development should be approved, and under what conditions.

Risk and vulnerability assessment framework

The risk and vulnerability assessment framework will provide the tools to ensure that regulation of coal seam gas and coal mining development is science based, consistent, transparent and relevant to community concerns. The framework will be based on the AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 risk management guidelines.

Application of the risk and vulnerability framework guides sustainable development decisions that consider the priorities of stakeholders and the wider community.

NRM water asset database

This project will collate and ground-truth existing data on water resources in the Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern & Yorke, SA Arid Lands, SA Murray-Darling Basin and South East Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions.

Regional data has been combined into a spatial database which consistently characterises water assets and identifies vulnerabilities of those assets to potential coal seam gas and coal mining developments.

Groundwater assessments of the Arckaringa and Pedirka Basins

The Arckaringa and Pedirka geological basins are identified as having high coal development potential, but there is limited understanding about their hydrogeological characteristics.

This project has collated and reviewed existing hydrogeological data and will further identify and address key knowledge gaps through on-ground investigations.

Outcomes will include:

  • Key contributions to Bioregional Assessment baseline data, modelling and risk analysis.

  • Basin architecture to map the geometry and extent of basin units.

  • Groundwater numerical modelling.

  • Hydro-chemical sampling and targeted well drilling to establish baseline conditions and better understand hydrological processes.

Rivers and springs assessments in the Lake Eyre Basin

The Lake Eyre Basin Rivers Monitoring and Springs Assessment projects are being delivered across the entire Lake Eyre drainage basin, covering parts of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. The focus is on areas that overlie the coal-bearing Arckaringa, Pedirka, Cooper and Galilee Basins.

Outcomes will include:

  • Key contributions to Bioregional Assessment baseline data, modelling and risk analysis.

  • Hydrological modelling.

  • Ecological modelling.

  • Fluvial geomorphological analysis.

  • Further characterisation of water assets including springs, waterholes and floodplains.

The following map shows the extent of the program's focus areas across all states. Click the map to view a larger version in a new window. See also the Fact Sheet providing an overview of the program.

 

 

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