The Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy has commissioned an ambitious, multi-disciplinary programme of bioregional assessments to improve understanding of the potential impacts of coal seam gas and large coal mining activities on water resources and water-dependent assets across six bioregions in eastern and central Australia. A bioregional assessment is a scientific analysis of the ecology, hydrology, geology and hydrogeology of a bioregion with explicit assessment of the potential direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of coal seam gas and large coal mining development on water resources.
The analysis of these potential impacts relies heavily on the outputs of quantitative numerical models of groundwater, surface water and ecological impacts. Exchange of information (and associated uncertainties) between these models is obviously necessary, but facilitating this exchange between models that run at different time steps and may have differing input/output stuctures is not a trivial task. Complicating this further is the task of coordinating groundwater modellers, surface water hydrologists and ecologists, all of which have disparate backgrounds and may use the same term to mean very different things.
This presentation will describe the overall methodology underpinning bioregional assessments as well as provide an overview of the modelling workflow, describe the issues that arose during its implementation, as well as how these issues were resolved. Results of the programme to date will be presented.
Further details of the programme as well as the reports published thus far can be found at http://www.bioregionalassessments.gov.au.