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Improving our knowledge and understanding of Queensland's groundwater systems can help to ensure the proper management and long term sustainability of vital sectors like agriculture and the onshore gas industry.

The recent expansion of the coal seam gas (CSG) industry in Queensland has led to a significant increase in the effort and resources going into the science and research of groundwater systems in this State.

Groundwater Research in Queensland

The Surat Basin is the main location for Queensland's expanding coal seam gas (CSG) industry and as such has also been the focus of much of the groundwater research effort by the CSG proponents, CSIRO, government, universities and other research agencies.

  • Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment (OGIA) – OGIA carried out a number of technical studies in the Surat Cumulative Management Area, the results of which underpin the 2016 Underground Water Impact Report and the ongoing assessment of groundwater impacts. The studies relate to the nature of groundwater flow systems, hydrogeological and geological investigations, groundwater flow modelling, interconnectivity of aquifers, and springs assessment.

  • Gas Industry Social & Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) – has been formed to provide scientific research to contribute to a desire by community, government and industry alike for additional information on the growing natural gas industry. GISERA's research aims to improve the understanding of regional groundwater flows and management of groundwater impacts. Its current members are CSIRO, Australia Pacific LNG and QGC.

  • Queensland University of Technology Groundwater Systems Research – was established to provide a focus for groundwater-related research both within QUT and externally via collaboration with government, industry and private sectors. Important outcomes of the program are multidisciplinary projects based on genuine integration.

  • Sustainable Minerals Institute Centre for Coal Seam Gas (SMI CCSG) – this research will produce a publicly available web-based atlas of water chemistry which can provide insights into coal seam hydrology and potential interactions with other aquifers; improve our understanding of processes controlling water chemistry in coal seams and other aquifers; and refine water monitoring design.

  • University of Southern Queensland (USQ) – conducts research into the processes in and interactions between different geoenvironments such as soils, sediments, and aquifers in a holistic integral approach to support an economically profitable but sustainable exploitation of groundwater and other natural resources.

GasFields Commission Queensland's Role

One of the GasFields Commission's key roles is to liaise with the scientific community and ensure ongoing collaboration and effective communication with landholders and the community about the extensive groundwater research effort being undertaken in Queensland.

The Commission believes peer reviewed science and research about Queensland's onshore gas industry is essential, especially as it relates to other sectors like agriculture and regional communities.

In 2013, the GasFields Commission collated the water-related science and research activities that are complete or are being undertaken in relation to Queensland’s coal seam gas (CSG) industry.

The report produced the first holistic snapshot of the 188 projects being carried out by universities, government agencies and CSG proponents in addition to the significant technical assessments undertaken by CSG proponents during approval processes.

The purpose of the report is to provide greater awareness of water-related science and research activities as well as to stimulate discussion on future science and research directions.

Further Reading

Reports and Publications

Selected Peer-reviewed Publications

Groundwater Research in Queensland

Groundwater Research in Queensland Topic Sheet (PDF icon 265 KB)