Palaeovalley Groundwater Resources
The National Water Commission is contributing $4.935 million to address the knowledge and management gap which currently limits the use of a potential major source of groundwater (palaeovalley aquifers) in much of Australia. The understanding and national guidelines generated through this work will significantly improve Australia's capacity to assess groundwater resources in palaeovalley systems in the most cost-effective manner, and to enable successful monitoring and management of this valuable resource into the future. It will especially benefit the drier areas of Australia which are almost entirely groundwater dependent.
With national water supply issues at the forefront of both government and public agenda in recent times, the Groundwater Group is well placed to make a significant and lasting contribution to the exploration, understanding and management of palaeovalley groundwater resources.
The overall objective of the resulting Palaeovalley Groundwater Project is to develop and deliver an innovative and integrated national approach for understanding the capacity, quality, quantity and hydrological dynamics of groundwater contained in palaeovalleys across arid and semi-arid Australia.
This four year (2008-12) study will:
- fill gaps in the groundwater resource knowledge of arid and semi-arid Australia
- improve methodologies for determining the characteristics, volumes and sustainability of groundwater resources in palaeovalley aquifers
- evaluate the application of non-traditional groundwater assessment methods against more conventional methods to evaluate groundwater resources for remote communities, and for potential horticultural and mining activities
- develop a conceptual and spatial framework of key palaeovalley system types and associated groundwater scenarios in arid and semi-arid regions
- develop a national strategy to delineate and manage arid-zone palaeovalley resources in respective geologic provinces or regions
- provide guidelines to state agencies, other water managers and communities towards sustainable management and use of palaeovalley resources and associated ecosystems.
The work builds on and will be undertaken in conjunction with the Australian Government's Onshore Energy Security Program being led by Geoscience Australia.
Australia's Arid Zone Study will implement four main work programs to achieve its objectives:
- synthesis of existing data and information relating to distinguishing palaeovalley groundwater systems and resources, including a national workshop to develop conceptual models of the key groundwater processes which occur in different geologic and climatic areas of Australia
- evaluation of the most appropriate and cost-effective methods for determining the hydrogeological properties of palaeovalley groundwater systems across arid and semi-arid parts of Australia
- development and demonstration of the representative conceptual models at actual field localities, through an integrated approach to groundwater resource quantification. This will involve synthesis of existing data from mineral exploration and water resource investigations, and new information acquired from remote sensing methods, targeted drilling and geochemical analyses. Demonstration sites include the Tanami region (Western Australia - Northern Territory), the Paterson Province (Western Australia), the Gawler–Eucla region (South Australia), the Musgrave province (Western Australia - Northern Territory - South Australia), the Ti Tree Basin (Western Australia), the Kintore–Lake Mackay area (Northern Territory) and the Murchison–Gascoyne region (Western Australia)
- extensive consultation to develop and reach accord on a national approach for delineating and managing groundwater in palaeovalleys across arid Australia.
Topic contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Last updated: April 2, 2013