UNSW CSG groundwater investigations in the Condamine Catchment, QLD
Research led by Associate Professor Bryce Kelly has undertaken one of the most extensive air and groundwater quality surveys around coal seam gas developments in South East Qld. The team involved 9 researchers from UNSW, ANSTO and Royal Holloway, University of London.
The goal was to baseline
conditions in the region and to assess the extent of hydraulic connectivity between underwater aquifers and coals measures being targeted for coal seam gas production. In South East Qld there is concern about the impact of Australia’s largest coal seam gas developments immediately west of one of Australia’s most productive agricultural regions in the Condamine.
This important research has proven that throughout the Cecil Plains portion of the Condamine Alluvium, the concentration of methane in the groundwater is low. An important finding was that at four sites the chemical signature of the methane indicated that it was probably sourced from the Walloon Coal Measures. These four sites were isolated from
each other. The combination of this spatial information and the low concentration of methane measured throughout the Condamine Alluvium indicate that the extent of natural connectivity between the Walloon Coal Measures and the Condamine Alluvium is low. But this finding does highlight the need for monitoring and additional research to assess the multi-decadal impacts of coal seam gas production.
Comprehensive details on the research will shortly be published in Iverach et al. (2015) Scientific Reports 5:15996 | DOI: 10.1038/srep15996. A summary of the research is provided at the link below.
Find out more on the excellent research work at UNSW Connected Waters Initiative by visiting their webpage
A number of UNSW staff and students will be presenting at the Australian Groundwater Conference in Canberra next week.
If you are attending the conference, UNSW will also be present with a trade display.