The Millennium drought and increased demand for water throughout Australia placed the water supply infrastructure of the day under considerable stress. In response the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) was given the role of compiling and delivering Australia’s water information under the conditions set out in the Federal Water Act 2007.
To achieve this the BoM developed the Australian Water Resource Information System (AWRIS) and the National Groundwater Information System (NGIS) to support AWRIS. Implementation of the NGIS hinged on the development of a National Aquifer Framework (NAF) and each state and territory was tasked with developing an aquifer framework for incorporation into the NAF.
The Queensland Aquifer Framework (QAF) uses a three-tiered system of grouping individual geologic units. The three tiers are defined as:
The QAF was developed using the best available geological mapping data and literature at the time to create a list of GUs that provided the foundation for creating the QAF.
Grouping and assigning HGUs to GUs was performed at group, subgroup or formation level and took into consideration age, dominant rock type, spatial extent, and geographic location of the GUs. Grouping of HGUs was performed based on age, hydrogeological characteristics and the geologic province or basin that the HGU forms part of, to create HGCs used in the QAF. Flexibility was built into the QAF to accommodate changes in geological mapping and naming.
Ongoing revision of the QAF is essential in maintaining the NAF and facilitating data migration from the Queensland Groundwater Database to the NGIS. The NGIS is a vital component of the AWRIS and underpins many groundwater products developed by the BoM.