Southern Stuart Corridor

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Map of the Southern Stuart Corridor Project area showing the scope of work undertaken in the Southern Stuart Corridor projectmagnetic.

The Southern Stuart Corridor project encompassed four water management areas in the Northern Territory: Tennant Creek, Western Davenport, Ti Tree Basin and Alice Springs.

Water allocation planning and agricultural expansion in these areas is currently hampered by limited information about the size and extent of groundwater resource and groundwater systems more generally, including recharge rates, surface-groundwater connectivity, and the dependency of vegetation communities on groundwater. Outside these proposed agricultural areas, the Southern Stuart Corridor Project also encompasses a number of remote communities where there is a need to identify more secure water supplies.

The main objectives of the project were to:

  • Improve the understanding of regional groundwater systems and processes including the geology, basin architecture, surface-groundwater interaction, inter-aquifer leakage, basin-paleovalley connectivity and potential groundwater dependence of vegetation;
  • Assess the location, quantity and quality of groundwater resources to underpin agricultural expansion and Alice Spring’s future water supply;
  • Identify new groundwater resources to provide enhanced water security for remote communities; and
  • Assess the potential for managed aquifer recharge to offset existing and potential future groundwater development.

The project provides baseline data to inform groundwater prospectivity analysis, support the development of holistic water and salinity management strategies, and inform water allocations.

Outputs

The Project has delivered new data and products including:

  • Airborne electromagnetic (AEM) and magnetic data download;
  • Borehole NMR data download;
  • Borehole hydrochemistry;
  • Borehole induction-gamma data download;
  • SNMR data download;
  • HyLogging report of drilling;
  • Drilling report;
  • Borehole datasets (e.g. geophysics, hydrogeology, hydrochemistry) compiled from existing and new bores;
  • Geomorphic, geologic, hydrogeologic, and hydrostratigraphic maps; and
  • Summary report for each area describing revised hydrogeological and hydrodynamic conceptual models; assessment of the groundwater resource potential and managed aquifer recharge suitability, and potential implications of new data and improved hydrogeological understanding for existing groundwater models, water allocation planning, monitoring strategies and groundwater management.

Data acquisition

During the project, Geoscience Australia and partners collected:

  • 9,613 line-kilometre airborne electromagnetic survey;
  • Drilled 15 monitoring bores (~2400 metres of drilling);
  • 75 groundwater hydrochemistry samples;
  • 118 SNMR soundings;
  • 30 boreholes logged using NMR; and
  • 50 boreholes logged for induction and gamma.

In addition the project completed:

  • Landscape mapping;
  • Soil/regolith and Landscape mapping;
  • Managed Aquifer Recharge assessment;

Collaborations

The Southern Stuart Corridor Project was undertaken collaboratively with the Northern Territory Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Northern Territory Power and Water Corporation.

Other key stakeholders include Central Land Council (CLC), NT Cattleman’s Association, local indigenous groups and landholders.